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Cornell University Library 
DC 216.1.S48 1909 

^^^!?*®P'^'"^ :Napoleon's enchan 

3 1924 024 329 793 


Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

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Author of " The Last Empress of the French,', etc. 


Vol. II 

New York 



i?\ O^ I 

a(^ I 
















tinued) 546 







Josephine. (By Prudhon) . . > Photogravure Frontispiece 

Facing page 

Napoleon Bonaparte at Malmaison- .... 344 

Prince Napoleon Charles 356 

Empress Josephine. (By Gerard) 360 

Pius VII 388 

The Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine . . . 402 

Josephine. (The Sketch by David) 406 

Napoleon in the Imperial Robes 414 

Napoleon. (By Steube) 430 

Prince Louis Napoleon 456 

Empress Marie Louise 528 

Prince Napoleon Louis 570 

Napoleon II., King of Rome 576 

Alexander I., Emperor of Russia 606 

Madame de Stael 614 

Tomb of the Empress Josephine 618 

Facsimile letter from Josephine 624 




THE year now commencing was one of great 
anxiety at its beginning and of great 
splendour at its close ; and in both anxiety and 
splendour Josephine had her full share. Rumours 
of a Royalist conspiracy were rife in the early 
days of January. Nor were they without a 
very sohd foundation. " Just imagine/' wrote 
Josephine to her daughter in February, " Georges 
has been in Paris and its neighbourhood since 
August ; really it makes one shudder." Georges, 
of course, was the notorious Georges Cadoudal, 
the Chouan leader, who had remained in England 
during the Peace of Amiens but had returned to 
France in the summer of 1803 with a band of 
followers sworn to assassinate the First Consul, 
The approach of grave danger was not concealed 
VOL. II 337 I 

33^ The Empress Josephine 

from Napoleon and his Government, and strict 
precautions were taken in Paris to meet it. One 
of the principal steps was the removal from his 
post as Governor of Paris of Junot, who, in spite 
of his wife's unbounded admiration, was in- 
capable of holding so important an office. His 
successor was Murat, who was allowed to retain 
his rank as general and was assigned an addi- 
tional sixty thousand francs, a similar sum 
being given to his wife Caroline. Thus another 
branch of the Bonaparte family was elevated to a 
responsible post ; and this time a branch at pre- 
sent more favourable to Josephine than the rest. 
The strengthening of the Government's de- 
fence took place none too soon. Murat was 
nominated on January 15. On the following 
day there landed in Normandy a band of exiles 
from England, including Pichegru, the two 
Polignacs, and Riviere. With the news of their 
landing came the report that a high Bourbon 
prince was implicated in the plot. The prince 
in question was undoubtedly the Comte d'Artois, 
brother of the Royalist claimant ; but unhappily, 
as will be seen, another and almost certainly 
innocent member of the Bourbon family was 

A Plot against Napoleon 339 

The plotters did not remain long in security. 
Certain of their number were somehow tracked 
down. In the above-quoted letter to Hortense 
Josephine relates how " the man who was to 
have been shot and who begged for mercy has 
revealed important matters." The result of 
his revelations was the arrest of General Moreau 
on the night of February 14-15, an event which 
startled all Paris. In rapid succession Pichegru, 
Riviere, and the Polignacs were captured, and 
finally on March 9 Georges Gadoudal. The 
police, under the direction of Savary, had timed 
their strokes admirably to surround the whole 

In the Memoirs of Mme. de Remusat we are 
given some insight ipto the feelings of Josephine 
at this anxious epoch. On the night before 
Moreau' s arrest Napoleon revealed to her his 
intention. He was unable to sleep and walked 
up and down the room all night. Neither 
could Josephine sleep after she had been told, 
and the marks of tears were plain upon her 
face next morning. Looking at her. Napoleon 
took her by the chin, lifted up her head, and 
said : " Now, now ! Not every one has a good 
wife as I have. You are weeping, Josephine. 

34° The Empress Josephine 

Why ? Are you afraid ? " " No," she an- 
swered, " but I don't hke what people will 
say." " What do you want ? I feel no hatred, 
no desire for revenge. I have reflected long 
before having Moreau arrested. I could have 
shut my eyes and given him time to escape. 
But they would have said I did not dare to 
put him on trial." 

Napoleon had reason on his side, touching 
the arrest of his would-be assassins. His next 
step was one which had the result of blackening 
his fame more than any act of his whole hfe. 
It is not the place here, however, to discuss 
the case of the Due d'Enghien. We are only 
concerned in the affair so far as it affected 
Josephine. On March i8, which was Passion 
Sunday, Napoleon and his wife heard Mass 
at the Tuileries and then drove out to Mal- 
maison. Here it had been arranged that they 
should spend a week — to Josephine's great 
relief, for the high feeling prevailing in Paris 
over the arrests caused her considerable alarm. ■ 
Napoleon went on ahead, only Mme. de Remusat 
riding with her in her carriage. So silent was 
Josephine that at length her lady-in-waiting 
expressed her concern. Josephine looked at 

The Due d'Enghicn 341 

her for some moments without speaking and 
then said : "I am going to tell you a great 
secret. Bonaparte told me this morning that 
he had sent M. de Caulaincourt across our 
frontier to seize the Due d'Enghien." " Good 
heavens, madame, what are they going to do 
with him ? " "It seems to me he will be put 
on his trial." Mme. de Remusat turned so 
pale that Josephine kindly lowered the carriage 
window to give her air, fearing she might 
faint. " I have done all I could," she said, 
" to make Bonaparte promise that the Prince 
shall not die. But I very much fear that his 
mind is made up." " What ! " exclaimed the 
other, " you think he will put him to death ? " 
" I am afraid so." Mme. de Remusat says that 
she began to weep and told Josephine how she 
dreaded the hatred which such a deed would 
cause to break out against Napoleon. As she 
listened her mistress herself became more and 
more agitated, and when she arrived at Mal- 
maison she was in as bad a state of nerves as 
her lady. This was but natural, for Josephine 
had at least as much regard as Mme. de Remusat 
for the Bourbons. 

In spite of her trouble, however, Josephine 

342 The Empress Josephine 

acted with prudence at this moment. She 
told Mme. de Remusat to retire to her room, 
so that Napoleon might not guess that his 
confidence had been betrayed, and she went 
to him herself to make an appeal for mercy. 
He was unyielding. On the following day 
Josephine went out early into the park, where 
she directed the transplantation of a tree. 
It was a cypress. Mme. de Remusat watched 
her throwing a few handfuls of soil upon the 
roots when the work was done and exclaimed 
how appropriate was such a tree for such a 
day. But Josephine, in spite of her gardening, 
had not dismissed the unhappy Duke from her 
mind. Making another attempt to wring mercy 
from Napoleon, she had the courage to force 
her way into his presence and reopen the ques- 
tion. The scene was not at all to Napoleon's 
taste. " Go away," he kept on saying, " you 
are a child, you understand nothing about 
political necessities." At last she abandoned 
her attempt. As she withdrew from the room 
she cried to him : " Well, Bonaparte, if you 
have your prisoner killed, you will be guillotined 
yourself like my first husband ; and this time 
I shall bear you] company," The last words 

Josephine's Intervention 343 

betray a personal fear which was perhaps 
excusable in the circumstances ; and heroic 
self-forgetfulness did not enter into Josephine's 

The fatal hour was approaching, unknown to 
any one at Mahnaison except the First Consul 
himself. On the Tuesday evening, when dinner 
was over, Napoleon left the table to amuse 
himself for a while with Hortense's infant son, 
whom she and Louis had brought with them 
to Malmaison. Josephine looked pleased at 
this playful humour and glanced at Mme. de 
R^musat, as if to indicate that there was still 
hope of mercy. Mme. de Remusat, however, 
was looking so white that she attracted the 
attention of Napoleon, who addressed to her 
one of those characteristic speeches of his to 
ladies : " Why haven't you got any rouge 
on ? You are too pale." She had forgotten 
it, she replied. " What, a woman forget her 
rouge ? That will never happen to you, Jose- 
phine. There are two things which become 
women very well, rouge and tears." These 
were certainly two things to which Josephine 
had accustomed her husband. This evening 
she plainly met with his approval, for he began 

344 The Empress Josephine 

to be very demonstrative of his affection to 
her — unconventionally so, according to Mme. 
de Remusat. Was it because of the remorse 
or uneasiness which he felt at disregarding her 
appeals on behalf of his prisoner ? After they 
had gone to bed, he awoke again at five 
o'clock, and turning to her remarked : " At this 
hour the Due d'Enghien has ceased to live." 
Josephine broke out into loud lamentations. 
" Come now, try to sleep," he said, " you are 
only a child." ^ 

On the following day Malmaison was the 
centre to which visitors flocked in crowds from 
Paris. The first arrival was Savary, fresh 
from Vincennes. He had a private interview 
with Napoleon and then came out into the 
salon. "Is it all over ? " cried Josephine to 
him, her arms falling sadly to her sides. " Yes, 
madame, he died this morning, and with a 
fine display of courage, I must admit." Savary 
went on to relate how the soldiers who had 
shot him had refused to avail themselves of 

1 This also is Mme. de Remusat's account, presumably ba^ed 
upon Josephine's confidences. It does not agree with the 
versions which make the execution of Enghien take place 
without a direct command from Napoleon. 

From an engraving after the picture by Isabey, 

The Due's Execution 345 

pennission to divide the young Duke's personal 
belongings among themselves. As he told the 
tale, others began to arrive. Among the first 
was Eugene Beauharnais, who apparently had 
not yet heard the news. In his Memoirs he 
thus describes the scene between Napoleon, 
when he came out from his study, and Jose- 
phine : 

" My mother was all in tears and uttered 
the fiercest reproaches against the First Consul, 
who listened to her in silence. She told him 
that it was an atrocious deed, from the stain 
of which he could never cleanse himself, and that 
he had yielded to the treacherous advice of 
his enemies, who were delighted to be able to 
spoil the history of his life with so horrible a 
page. The First Consul withdrew to his study, 
and a few minutes later Caulaincourt arrived 
from Strasbourg. He was astonished at the 
distress of my mother, who hastened to tell 
him the cause. At the fatal news Caulaincourt 
smote his forehead and tore his hair, crying : 
' Oh, why must I have been mixed up in this 
disastrous expedition ? ' " 

More visitors followed, among them a number 
of generals, to whom the execution at Vincennes 

348 The Empress Josephine 

he was very pale, while Josephine was visibly 
trembling. Napoleon looked round at the faces 
of the party, says Mme. de Remusat, as if to 
inquire how they thought he would be re- 
ceived. " At last he went in, with the air of 
a man advancing under the fire of a battery. 
He was welcomed as usual, whether because 
the sight of him produced its ordinary effect 
or because the police had taken their pre- 
cautions beforehand." 

And indeed the execution of the Due 
d'Enghien seemed to produce no ill effects in 
France, however much it revolted the feelings 
of Europe. Napoleon himself declared that 
his policy had been successful, and he after- 
wards wrote : " From this time onward con- 
spiracies ceased." The "Moniteur" was full 
of addresses from the army and the country, 
congratulating the First Consul on his happy 
escape. It was felt possible to show leniency 
to the prisoners arrested in Paris. Cadoudal 
was executed, it is true ; but Riviere and the 
two Polignacs, though condemned to death, 
were pardoned. Josephine's pleadings were 
largely responsible for Armand de PoUgnac's 
reprieve, it was said, for she was a friend of 

The Sequel of the Plot 349 

his wife. Moreau was sentenced to two years' 
imprisonment only and subsequent deporta- 
tion. He had not won the battle of Hohen- 
linden to no purpose. Pichegru, by strangling 
himself in prison, put himself out of the way. 
They had all conspired in vain, and those that 
lived only saw the coming of the Empire hast- 
ened by their plot. On March 27 the Senate, 
in the course of a fervent address to the First 
Consul, said : " You have brought us out of 
the chaos of the past. You have made us 
bless the benefits of the present. Guarantee 
for us the future. Great man, complete your 
work and make it as immortal as your glory ! " 
Napoleon for the moment made no more de- 
cided reply than that he would reflect upon the 
matter ; but no one could have had any doubts 
as to what the results of his reflection would be. 
The great public bodies were in eager com- 
petition to hasten his decision. The Tribunate 
was first in the field with a proposal of here- 
ditary empire at the end of April, and on May 3 
the proposal was passed with Carnot, the ex- 
Director, alone dissenting. The Council of 
State, the Legislative Body, and the Senate 
were not far behind ; the last-named on May 18 

35<^ The Empress Josephine 

put forth a senafus consuUum, proposing to the 
people the question whether hereditary Im- 
perial dignity should be conferred on " the 
direct, natural, legitimate, and adoptive descen- 
dants of Napoleon Bonaparte, and on the 
direct, natural, legitimate descendants of Joseph 
Bonaparte and Louis Bonaparte." 

Immediately after carrying their resolution, 
the Senators made all haste in their carriages 
to reach Saint-Cloud, where the First Consul 
was at the time residing. They must be the 
first to congratulate him on his new rank. 
They found him standing in his military uniform 
in the Gallery of Apollo, awaiting their arrival, 
" with Josephine at his side. Cambaceres, whose 
post as Second Consul was soon to be exchanged 
for another of more real dignity if of less ap- 
parent power, addressed Napoleon on behalf of 
the Senators and at the end of his speech pro- 
claimed him " Emperor of the French." His 
listener had reflected, according to his promise ; 
and he now accepted what the Senate offered 
him, submitting to the decision of the nation, 
the question as to the principle of heredity. 
Cambaceres then turned to Josephine and 
addressed her in these words : 

Empire 351 

" Madame, there remains a very agreeable 
duty for the Senate to perform — to offer to 
Your Imperial Majesty the tribute of its respect 
and the expression of France's gratitude. Yes, 
madame, Fame publishes abroad tidings of the 
good which you never cease to do. She teUs 
how you, ever accessible to the unfortunate, 
only use your influence with the head of the 
State to relieve their misery, and how to the 
pleasure of conferring an obligation Your 
Majesty adds a lovable delicacy which makes 
gratitude aU the sweeter and a good action all 
the more precious. It is clear from this that the 
name of Josephine will always stand for con- 
solation and hope, and that, just as the virtues 
of Napoleon will always serve as examples to 
his successors to instruct them in the art of 
governing nations, so the living memory of 
your kindness will teach the august sharers 
of these successors' fortunes that the surest 
way to reign over hearts is care in the drying 
of tears. The Senate congratulates itself on 
being the first to greet Your Imperial Majesty, 
and he who has the honour to be its spokesman 
dares to hope that you wiU deign to reckon him 
in the number of your most faithful servants." 

352 The Empress Josephine 

Napoleon and Josephine were Emperor and 
Empress. Constant writes that every one at 
Saint-Cloud this day was drunk with joy. In 
the ante-chamber as well as in the salon all 
were embracing and congratulating one another 
and discussing their hopes and plans. A heavy 
storm raged outside, but no one took any notice 
of the bad omen. Had any one been affected, 
we may be sure that it would have been the 
superstitious Josephine. She might well forget, 
however, to think of omens from the weather on 
a day of such glorious fortune. Nor could her 
contentment be lessened by the fact that among 
the Bonapartes, who had resented so much her 
intrusion into their family, the joy was by no 
means as great. Lucien was in disgrace and 
exile in Rome ;^ Mme. Letizia was there with him, 
resenting Napoleon's attitude over his brother's 
second marriage ; Pauline (the name Paulette 
was no longer dignified enough) was also in Italy, 

1 Jerome, like Lucien, was in disgrace, owing to his marriage 
with Elizabeth Patterson in December 1803, and, like Lucien 
too, was cut out of the succession. But Josephine had less 
reason to dislike him than his brothers, and indeed she had 
treated him with afiection and indulgence when, in his school- 
days, he came to spend some of his vacations in the rue Chan- 
tereine. An unsupported rumour made her view him as a 
possible husband for Hortense before she thought of Louis. 

Family Jealousies 353 

not yet forgiven by Napoleon ; and Joseph and 
Louis were by no means pleased at the terms 
of the Senate's decree, which made not them- 
selves but only their descendants heirs after 
Napoleon's legitimate or adoptive children. 

The discontent of the Bonaparte ladies was 
very soon shown. On the night of the Senate's 
mission to Saint-Cloud, Napoleon gave a dinner- 
party to his family and a number of other 
guests. Before they went in to dinner, Duroc, 
as Grand Marshal of the Palace, announced to 
Joseph and Louis the fact that they were to be 
styled henceforward princes and their wives 
princesses. The sensation was great, and none 
were more afEected by it than EUsa Bacciochi 
and Caroline Murat. At 6 o'clock Napoleon 
appeared with Josephine and began to use the 
new titles at once. The Empress was very 
amiable and disguised her elation. But Caroline, 
although her husband was now a Marshal of 
the Empire, could hardly contain herself. At 
table she was observed to be on the verge of tears 
at each mention of the Princess JuUe and the 
Princess Hortense, and to be constantly taking 
long draughts of cold water. Ehsa, who had 
become more friendly to Napoleon since Lueien 

VOL. II 2 

354 The Empress Josephine 

had disgusted her by taking to wife the widow 
Jouberthou, was more calm than Carohne, but 
was very haughty and brusque in her manner 
toward the other guests. At length Napoleon 
grew irritated at his sisters' conduct and in- 
dulged in many indirect hits at them. The 
presence of strangers, however, prevented an 
open scene that night. 

On the following day a smaller dinner took 
place at Saint-Cloud. On this occasion Caroline 
broke into complaints, and demanded of Napo- 
leon why she and Ehsa should be condemned 
to obscurity, while strangers were loaded with 
honoTU-s. Napoleon answered harshly, and 
suggested that it might be thought he had 
" stolen the inheritance of their late father the 
King." Caroline's rage overcame her and she 
fell on the ground in a faint. Napoleon was 
immediately softened and helped to restore her ; 
and on the following day, May 20, it was an- 
nounced in the " Moniteur " that the Emperor's 
three sisters were to be granted the title of 
Imperial Highness. Even Pauline, therefore, 
was not deprived of the benefits of Caroline's 
protest, and only Lucien and Jerome remained 
under a cloud. 

The Want of an Heir 355 

Josephine had become Empress of the French 
without any disagreeable necessity of fighting 
for her dignity. There still remained to trouble 
her joy the fact that Napoleon wanted an heir. 
His assumption of the title of Emperor had 
altered the situation. As First Consul he could 
not nominate a child as his successor, even if the 
power of nomination were put in his hands. 
Hence the idea which he entertained of making 
Louis his heir. But, with an Emperor on the 
throne, the presence of a youthful heir^apparent 
to be trained up to succeed his father, real 
or adoptive, was the natural thing. The ad- 
vantages of an adult successor, such as Louis, 
were much less than formerly ; more especially 
since Louis had by no means commended him- 
self to his brother by his conduct toward 
Hortense. Joseph was still less suitable than 
Louis, on account of his weakness of character. 
Had Eugene only been a Bonaparte instead of 
a Beauharnais, his claim would be preferable to 
all others ; but the arguments against going 
outside the immediate family circle were too 
strong to be disregarded. 

If the heir were to be a child, where was that 
child to be found ? Josephine was now over 

356 The Empress Josephine 

forty, so that the idea of a son by her to Napoleon 
might well be put aside. If she were not to be 
diyorced, the child must come from another 
Bonaparte. Since Lucien and Jerome had both 
by their marriages made themselves impossible 
in the eyes of Napoleon, there were only Joseph 
and Louis. Joseph had daughters, but no son. 
Thus there was but Louis left. In favour of his 
infant boy Napoleon-Charles there were several 
points, more especially that Napoleon was very 
fond of him and that he was Josephine's grand- 
child. Might he not further become the 
Emperor's son by adoption ? This idea occurred 
to Napoleon before his own elevation to the 
throne. It might have been successfully carried 
into practice but for the intervention of Joseph. 
It appears that in April 1804 Napoleon took 
Josephine with him to call on Louis in his Paris 
home. Louis was out when they arrived, and 
only returned in time to prevent their going 
without seeing him. He was at a loss to guess 
the reason of the visit. The First Consul was 
very embarrassed and did not enhghten him, 
until Josephine, taking him aside, explained to 
him that a great scheme was to be communicated 
to him and that he must show himself to be a 

From an engraving by F. Paquet. 

p. 3S6. 

Louis's Obstinacy 357 

man. It was then divulged to him that a law 
of inheritance was in preparation whereby the 
succession could only pass from Napoleon to 
members of the family sixteen years junior to 
him. Napoleon-Charles fulfilled the conditions. 
Would not the prospect of his son becoming 
Emperor one day console Louis for being left out 
of the succession himself ? Louis seemed in- 
clined to listen to the offer. On the following 
day, however, he called upon Joseph. The 
latter, who led the opposition in the family in 
Lucien's absence, was indignant at a scheme 
which cut him out as well as Louis, and reminded 
his younger brother of the stories about Hor- 
tense at the time of her marriage. Anyhow, 
the child was half a Beauharnais, and probably 
he would be taken away from his father to be 
educated as heir-apparent. After listening to 
his elder's views, Louis was determined not to 
agree to what he was asked, and refused to " give 
up " his child. 

So the matter stood when the Senate came 
to announce to Napoleon on May 18 that the 
question of hereditary Empire was to be sub- 
mitted to a plebiscite of the nation. The 
plebiscite was taken, and by it the Imperial 

358 The Empress Josephine 

dignity was declared hereditary in the direct, 
natural, legitimate, and adoptive descent of 
Napoleon and in the direct, natural, and legiti- 
mate descent of his two brothers. Joseph's 
and Louis's fears were realised, and they saw 
themselves, equally with the offending Lucien 
and Jerome, debarred from the succession, 
with their only consolations the title of Imperial 
Highness and the possibility of one day being 
father to the Emperor-designate. 

It was certainly Josephine's day. By a wise 
silence, in which she was joined by Eugene and 
Hortense, she gained more than the Bonapartes, 
whether Joseph or Louis, Caroline or Elisa, 
gained by their demands from Napoleon. 
Josephine, as M. Masson says,^ asked for nothing, 
except occasionally for money — and, strictly 
speaking, not for money, whose value she did 
not know and which she could not save. She 
only asked to be relieved of her debts, because 
her creditors worried her. Otherwise she took 
whatever her husband pleased to give her, and 
showed no jealousy of his generosity to others. 
She did, it is true, insist on one thing — her rights 
as a wife. The consequence was that Napoleon, 
1 " Napolton ©t sa Famille," ii. 423. 

Josephine's Gain 359 

suspecting her jealousy about him,^ tried to 
anticipate her wishes and give her whatever 
she might want. He grew less and less ready 
to divorce her, in spite of his brothers' wishes. 
Between his submissive, and apparently jealously 
fond, wife and his own family, eager to get what 
they could from him, he inclined steadily more 
toward her side. He was led to protect her 
against his own kin and to determine that she 
should be elevated with him to whatever 
eminence he might attain. 

• It was rather a case of knowledge than of suspicion, as we 
have seen. 



NOW that the story of Josephine has reached 
the point when she is firmly estabhshed 
in the position of Empress of the French, it 
seems appropriate to devote a little space to the 
description of her surroundings — the setting, 
as it were, of the scene in which she was the 
central figure. In the opening pages of his 
" Josephine, Imperatrice et Reine," M. Masson 
gives an excellent and elaborate analysis of the 
Empress's movements during the five years and 
seven months while she was on the throne. 
Of aU this time she spent barely twelve months 
at the Tuileries and thirteen at Saint-Cloud. 
Eight months were passed at Malmaison, three 
and a half at Fontainebleau, one at Rambouillet, 
These periods were by no means consecutive. 
Her sojourns in Paris were divided up into three 
months in the winter of 1804-5, two in 1806, two 
in 1807, three in 1808, and three twice over in 


From an engraving after the picture by Franc;ois Gerard/ 

p. 3S0. 

The Setting 36 t 

1809. It took seven visits to Saint-Cloud to 
make up her thirteen months there, and five to 
Rambouillet for the one month there. The rest 
of her time was divided between seasons at the 
waters of Plombieres and Aix-la-Chapelle, six 
months in all at Strasbourg and four at Mayence, 
and journeys to various parts of Germany, Italy, 
Belgium, and provincial France. In fact, she 
was in a never-ending state of movement. Yet, 
while she whirled about, the background re- 
mained strangely the same. In every palace were 
the same heavy gilded chairs placed against the 
wall in fixed numbers, the same soHd tables 
carrjTing ponderous vases, the same dusky 
panels on the walls showing nothing distinguish- 
able except the flesh of huge allegorical figures. 
There was nothing personal, nothing of the 
charm and intimacy of a home in these " cold 
and sumptuous inns wherein, with the change 
of a mere initial or an emblem, all their royal 
guests might lodge indifferently, whatever their 
race or country, their tastes or desires." ^ 

Owing to this absence of personal interest, it 
does not seem necessary here to pay much 
attention to the details of the arrangement of the 

• M. Masson, " Jos6phine, Imp6ratrice et Reine," 4, 

362 The Empress Josephine 

Tuileries Palace, which have, moreover, been 
so often described, both under the rule of the 
two Napoleons and under that of the Bourbons. 
In an earlier chapter it has been mentioned that 
the Empress occupied the ground floor and 
the Emperor the first floor, a private staircase 
leading from a wardrobe next his study to her 
rooms, which, like his, were divided into two sets, 
the appartement d'honneur and the appartement 
inferieur. The inner set, in her case, included 
her bedroom, dressing-room, boudoir, bath- 
room, and library ; while an ante-chamber, three 
salons, a dining-room, and a concert-room made 
up the other. To look after her person 
and her apartments she had a gradually in- 
creasing staff. Her Lady of Honour was the 
Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld ; her Lady of the 
Bedchamber Mme. Lavalette, her own niece ; 
her first four Palace Ladies, as already men- 
tioned in Chapter XV., Mmes. de Lauriston, de 
Lu9ay, de Remusat, and de Talhouet, to whom 
there were subsequently added thirteen others ; 
and a Reader, whom we never hear of Josephine 
using until after she had ceased to be reigning 
Empress. Of the male sex, she had a, Grand 
Almoner with the aristocratic name of de Rohan; 

Palace Life 363 

a First and five other Chamberlains, a First 
Equerry assisted by two others, and a Secretary. 
The inferior staff included two principal and 
four assistant femmes de chambre, of whom the 
principal received six thousand francs a year 
each for nominal work ; four women and a girl 
in charge of her wardrobe ; and a number of 
valets, ushers, pages, etc. 

In the midst of this great household, Jose- 
phine's manner of life varied but little from day 
to day. If the Emperor had spent the night 
with her, it was his custom to leave her as the 
hour of eight approached and to mount by the 
private stairs to his own suite. His departure 
was followed by the arrival of her waiting- 
women, who slept near her bedroom. The 
blinds were pulled up, and a glass was brought 
her of lemonade or whatever she might want. 
Next, admittance was given to the successor of 
the lamented Fortun6, who sprang upon the 
bed from which he was debarred during Napo- 
leon's presence. At nine o'clock she rose and 
commenced in her dressing-room a toilet which 
never took less than three hours, it was said. 
Everything in connection with her washing, 
hair-dressing, and make-up was of the most 

364 The Empress Josephine 

elaborate description. Powder she used in such 
profusion that it was wont to fall all over her 
clothes. Rouge she put on all over her cheeks ; 
her bills for this in 1808 amounted to more than 
3,300 francs. She had this much excuse for 
her artificial complexion, that, while she had 
naturally a brown skin, she came to Paris at a 
time when every one of position powdered ; and 
paint, as is well known, was pleasing to Napoleon, 
who once remarked to a lady of his Court, " Go 
and put some rouge on, madame ; you look like 
a corpse." In another detail, too, she was 
guided by him. He liked no scents except 
eau-de-cologne, orange-flower and lavender 
waters, and she refrained from employing any 

In comparison with the display of her toilet- 
table, her dress was of apparent extreme 
simplicity. In summer especially she wore 
nearly always a white muslin or cambric gown, 
while her underclothing was very slight indeed. 
But simple as her dresses looked, their cost was 
very high and her stock of them enormous. The 
muslin or cambric gown was exquisitely em- 
broidered, and might cost her anything up to 
two thousand francs. Some of the five hundred 

Toilet and Ceremony 365 

chemises in her wardrobe (she changed them 
three times a day) had lace to the value of two 
hundred francs,^ The fact that she never 
looked overdressed was no proof of her economy, 
for few women ever spent so much as she upon 
their clothes. 

After her lengthy toilet there was httle more 
freedom for Josephine in the disposal of her 
time at the Tuileries. Within the Palace all 
was governed by the strictest etiquette, which 
appealed to Napoleon as a necessary condition 
in the life of a new sovereign, above all. The 
Revolution had put ail on an equal footing ; only 
a rigid etiquette could restore the grades with- 
out which he could not make his Court what he 
wished it to be, the most splendid in Europe. 
With the aid of his trusted friend Duroc, who, 
as Grand Marshal, " accomplished miracles," 
according to Napoleon's own testimony, he 
contrived that the Tuileries should be a complete 
school of ceremony, where the only unceremoni- 
ous person was the master himself. 

The Palace of Saint-Cloud had come into the 
possession of Napoleon with the bestowal upon 

1 M. Masson, in his '- Josephine, Imperatrice et Reine," 
treats the subject of her wardrobe in great detail. 

366 The Empress Josephine 

him of the Life Consulship. In spite of its 
distance from the city proper, it was regarded 
as a Paris residence, and there was Uttle differ- 
ence in manner of Ufe and in etiquette between 
Saint-Cloud and the Tuileries. The rooms even 
were distributed in much the same way. 
Josephine's apartments here, however, were at 
once more modern and more comfortable than 
those at the Tuileries. She could give a little 
more scope to her own personal taste, but in the 
severe judgment of Napoleon the rooms were 
more appropriate to a fille entretenue. The 
occupations of the day were much the same as 
at the Tuileries, and the hours, duties, and society 
varied hardly at all. Life, however, was a 
little less public, and the environment was more 
pleasant. A shorter drive brought residents to 
Malmaison and places of interest. The grounds, 
too, were much more extensive. There were 
two parks attached, making about fifteen 
hundred acres in all, the smaller containing a 
number of the rare animals in which Josephine 
delighted, while the larger sheltered enough 
game to give sportsmen occasional occupation. 
Thus the monotony which reigned at the 
Tuileries was somewhat broken at Saint-Cloud. 

Saint'CIoud and Fontainebleau 367 

Away from these two Paris palaces life was 
not quite so exacting. Fontainebleau was 
particularly dear to the Emperor, as combining 
the splendours of the old rigime, the pomp of 
the new, and the pleasures of the country. He 
loved, as did his nephew Napoleon III. after 
him, to gather together there brilliant crowds 
of French and foreign guests and to arrange for 
them an unending programme of entertainment. 
Unfortunately, his minute attention to details 
usually ended by making his visitors feel rather 
like prisoners. The amusements of the Second 
Empire were often denounced as frivolous ; 
those of the First Empire could not escape the 
charge of dulness. The splendidly organised 
hunts, dances, and concerts, all attended by a 
wealth of uniform never witnessed anywhere 
else, produced a feeling of surfeit, and it may be 
doubted whether any one ever enjoyed the stay 
at Fontainebleau as much as the host himself. 
Certainly the hostess did not ; for, though she 
had somewhat less ceremony to observe than in 
Paris, on the other hand she had not the milliners 
and jewellers who helped her to pass some of 
her hours so pleasantly there. 

Nor did Rambouillet delight her more, 

368 The Empress Josephine 

charmed as was her husband with the little 
Royal residence, hardly more than a hunting- 
box, of former days. To him it appealed as a 
piece of old France and the scene of the last 
days of Francois I. To her it was an extremely 
uncomfortable house, with bedrooms in which 
one could hardly stir. Their first visit was paid 
to it in March 1805, on the way to the Italian 
Coronation. Napoleon ordered repairs costing 
half a million francs, and spent further sums 
later on the furniture and garden. No one 
dared say anything to him against it, but 
Josephine let others frankly understand that 
she " detested it." It was the practice there that 
after an eleven o'clock breakfast she and the 
ladies should set themselves to tapestry -work, in 
keeping with the spirit of old France, of course. 
The men would start for the hunt at two and 
return about eight or nine o'clock. Then the 
Emperor would pull out his watch and say, " I 
give you ten minutes to dress, ladies. Those who 
are not ready then must eat with the cats." The 
men, for the most part, dined in their hunting- 
clothes, for at Rambouillet the simple life re- 
placed the ceremony which was not absent 
even at Fontainebleau. A very short dinner was 

Rambouillet 369 

followed by an hour or two of whist or some 
other card-game. After some music, the 
Emperor went off to bed, while the rest of the 
party remained to talk to the Empress. Even 
here etiquette compelled the men to stand, so 
that by one or two o'clock, when the Empress 
retired, their weariness must have been extreme. 
On one occasion, in August 1806, when the whole 
Court by some miracle had been squeezed into 
Rambouillet, we hear of Josephine giving a 
rustic ball, with musicians brought down from 
Paris ; but this was an extraordinary event. 
Generally speaking, the guests must have found 
it hard to say whether it was worse to be a man 
or a woman at Rambouillet. 

It was only at Malmaison, the place of 
her own choice, that Josephine really made a 
home for herself. Here at least she was in the 
midst of all her collected treasures and could 
pursue her hobbies with little restraint. Hither 
she always preferred to come during the Em- 
peror's absence, although, as we have seen, 
between the time when she became Empress and 
the day of her divorce she was able to spend no 
more than eight months in all at her chateau. 
Her association with Malmaison, however, was 

VOL. 11 3 

37° The Empress Josephine 

very much longer than this, since it included 
part of the time when Napoleon was in Egypt, 
part of his First Consulship, and the bulk of the 
four years after the divorce. At first she only 
divided control of the place with her husband, 
who after the i8 hrumaire was glad, whenever he 
had any leisure, to come away from Paris and 
spend the hfe of a country gentleman here. 
We hear of him, in the first spring after he be- 
came Consul, passing a brief while at Malmaison 
with Josephine in bourgeois peace, going to bed 
early while she sat by his feet and read to him ; 
and in the daytime shutting himself up with his 
work, while she changed her dresses, received 
visitors, strolled in the park, or pretended to 
occupy herself with tapestry-work or her harp. 
Alterations and repairs of the buildings interested 
Napoleon so much that he had already spent 
six hundred thousand francs upon them. But 
when Saint-Cloud came into his hands he 
abandoned his care for Malmaison to Josephine, 
who in the July of 1802 got rid of Napoleon's 
architects and installed her own man Lepere. 
Henceforward Malmaison was hers alone, and she 
devoted to its upkeep and improvement enor- 
mous sums, from now onward to the fall of the 

Life at Malmaison 37^ 

Empire, so that Napoleon's extravagance was 
made to look almost like economy. He had 
nearly rebuilt the house, and had enlarged the 
grounds, originally about seventy-five acres in 
extent. Josephine, taking up the task, com- 
pleted or reversed the structural alterations, 
filled the rooms with her priceless but most 
miscellaneous belongings until they became 
veritable museums, extended the grounds to 
the bounds of the village of Reuil, stocked them 
with exotic flowers and rare animals, and 
erected in them conservatories and hot-houses on 
the grandest scale. Both within and without, 
the most extraordinary medley was every- 
where to be seen. This was natural enough in 
the case of her, furniture and collection of works 
of art, since all Europe as well as Egypt had 
been called upon to contribute objects, old and 
new. In the grounds Josephine, by her con- 
stant changes of mind, produced the same 
effect. Each new idea necessitated an abandon- 
ment of the old, till in the end Malmaison be- 
came a garden of surprises with its temples and 
obelisks, grottoed saints and classical gods, 
lakes and streams, for which the main difficulty 
was to find the water. 

372 The Empress Josephine 

Two of the great extravagances of the mistress 
of Malmaison were her crazes for strange 
animals and flowers ; and these continued to the 
end of her days. Among the birds and beasts 
were parrots, black swans, an eagle, a king 
vulture, an ostrich, chamois, gazelles, flying 
squirrels, kangaroos, a seal, an orang-utan, 
quantities of monkeys, a flock of merino sheep, 
some dwarf ponies, and a herd of Swiss cattle, 
to tend which she imported a Swiss shepherd 
and shepherdess, building them a Swiss chalet 
in the grounds. On idle afternoons there were 
all these animals to be fed, a task which never 
wearied her. 

Her flower garden was famous all over Europe, 
and has left traces of its fame in the names of 
several well-known plants. From her earliest 
days in France she had looked back with longing 
memories to the brilliant blooms of the West 
Indies. Paintings of flowers had always deco- 
rated her rooms, and the widow Beauharnais's 
bills for cut flowers had been high. As soon as 
the opportunity presented itself to gratify her 
taste for the more exotic specimens, she seized it 
without any more thought of the cost than when 
she dealt with her jewellers or miUiners. To 

The Flower Garden 373 

help her in her schemes she appointed, at a 
salary of six thousand francs a year, a certain 
Mirbel, whose previous history included deser- 
tion from the army as well as interest in botany. 
At once expenses began to mount at an enor- 
mous rate. One hothouse was built by his 
advice at the cost of ninety-eight thousand 
francs. The ever-increasing figures attracted 
Napoleon's attention, and in 1805 Josephine 
was forced to dispense with Mirbel. In spite of 
his early record, however, he raised the name of 
French horticulture and was generous in dis- 
tributing acclimatised species to amateurs who 
asked for them. With his departure Josephine, 
although she did not cease to care for her 
flowers, devoted more attention and money to 
the park rather than the garden of Malmaison. 
But she had already estabhshed a reputation as 
a lover of flowers which is likely to linger while 
her name is remembered.^ 

1 As early as 18O1 our own Prince Regent forwarded to her 
from London some plants which had been captured by English 
warships when on their way to her^a tribute to her fame as a 
flower-grower. The dedication with which Ventenat, Member 
of the Institute, prefaced his book on the Malmaison Garden, 
may be considered of interest: "Madame, you have not 
considered that the taste for flowers should be a barren study^ 
You have brought together under your eyes the rarest plants 

374 The Empress Josephine 

Malmaison, then, was Josephine's own king- 
dom, the otily one among her many residences 
where she could hve the hfe which she preferred 
to all others — the life of expensive simplicity, 
untrammelled by etiquette. At Malmaison, 
even when Napoleon was there with her, her pro- 
gramme was of her own making. There was her 
toilet, with the three or four changes of dress a 
day ; her walks in the garden or park, with her 
favourite flowers and animals to watch and tend ; 
her charities in the neighbourhood, which were 
on as extravagant a scale as everything else ; 
her harp and her embroidery-frame, which she 
rarely touched ; and little more, unless there 
were visitors, except her meals and her sleep, 
in that curious bedroom which has been re- 
constituted now so that it presents to modern 
visitors the same appearance as it had in the 
lifetime of its occupant. 

" Is not this house," pertinently asks M. 
Masson, " where, after her divorce, she was to 

on French soil. By your care there have even been naturalised 
several which had not yet left the deserts of Arabia and the 
burning sands of Egypt, and these now, duly classified, present 
to our gaze, in the beautiful garden of Malmaison, the sweetest 
memorial of your illustrious husband's conquests and the 
most pleasing proof of your studious leisure." 

The Home and its Mistress 375 

come to live, run into debt, and die, is it not 
Josephine herself, her whole Ufe described, her 
caprices recorded in stones, trees, pictures, 
statues, and flowers ? Never could one, by 
the aid of external things, penetrate farther into 
any one's heart than one can here. It is like 
an instantaneous photograph of Josephine as 
she actually was. This was her own property, 
which cost more than ten million francs and> 
with all the curious bric-a-brac which it con- 
tained, remained incomplete, contradictory, im- 
possible, a memorial of the caprices of a woman 
who was kept on the grandest scale ever known. 
There, in the midst of immense luxury and her 
enormous accumulation of treasures, she led a 
bourgeois life, among her flowers, her pet 
animals waiting to be fed, the guests who gave 
her occasion to change her costume, her small 
dinners and her concerts after dinner, her 
backgammon and her patience." 



SIGNS of the new order of things since the 
Republic had been merged in the Empire 
multiplied rapidly. The anniversary of the 
25 messidor (July 14) was the great day of the 
year, on which the official eulogium of the Revo- 
lution was wont to be pronounced. In 1804 
the commemoration was postponed until the 
next day, which was a Sunday, and instead of 
the usual ceremony there was a new scene 
witnessed in the church of the Invalides, which 
had been the Temple of Mars during the Revolu- 
tion and had but lately resumed its ecclesias- 
tical character. The Emperor decided that 
there should be a solemn distribution of the 
Stars of the Legion of Honour on this day. AU 
along the road from the Tuileries to the In- 
valides were drawn up two lines of troops on 
either side. Josephine drove to the church in 
a procession of four carriages, in which rode, 


Religion Restored 377 

beside herself, the Bonaparte princesses and 
the of&cers and ladies of her household. The 
gallery of the church was assigned to them and 
to the members of the Diplomatic Body. In 
the midst sat Josephine, dressed in a pink 
tulle robe, cut very low and sown with silver 
stars, while in her hair were a multitude of 
diamond clusters. " In this fresh and re- 
splendent toilette," writes Mme. de Remusat, 
" her elegant deportment, her charming smile, 
and the sweetness of her glance produced such 
an effect that I heard a number of people who 
were present at the ceremony declare that she 
eclipsed all the assembly which surrounded her." 
The Emperor arrived at the Invalides after 
his wife and was received at the door by 
Monseigneur du Belloy, Cardinal-Archbishop of 
Paris, bearing holy water. A throne was erected 
for Napoleon on the left hand of the altar, to 
which he was conducted by the Archbishop. 
Behind him sat all the leading civil and military 
dignitaries. In the nave were the members of 
the Legion of Honour, and behind the altar seven 
hundred old soldiers and the pupils of the Ecole 
Poly technique. Mass began, and after the 
Gospel the oath of fidelity to the Empire, the 

37 8 The Empress Josephine 

Emperor, and the laws of the Repubhc was 
administered. Napoleon then personally dis- 
tributed the decorations of his order, beginning 
with Cardinal Caprara, to whom he gave his 
own cordon. A Te Deum followed, and the 
Emperor and Empress drove back to the 
Tuileries in state. 

Napoleon had aleady in mind a scheme for a 
far greater ceremony, in which Josephine was 
destined to play a much larger part than she had 
played at any of the previous pixblic shows in 
which she had been associated with her husband. 
When he first conceived the idea of his own 
Consecration, and when he decided that Jose- 
phine also should share in this great religious 
blessing, we do not know. But it must have 
been early in 1804 that his thoughts turned 
definitely in this direction. It was a bold step 
for a son of the Revolution to call in the Pope 
to give his sanction to the ruler who sat in 
the place of the Legitimist Bourbons. Pope 
Stephen III. had consecrated Pepin, when 
asking for his military aid against the Lombards ; 
Stephen IV. had consecrated Louis le Debon- 
naire ; and Leo III. had crowned Charlemagne 
at Romfe itself. But was it consistent with 

Napoleon's Scheme 379 

Napoleon's " Republicanism " to ask Pius VII. 
to come to France as the two Stephens had done 
and to renew an old tradition in favour of a 
new dynasty which had no claim on his bene- 
volence beyond what the conclusion of the 
Concordat had given it ? To persuade his 
followers that it was so was the task which he 
now set himself, and as usual when he put him- 
self to bring them over to his views, relying on 
his personal hold upon them, he succeeded. 
But when he started for the camp at BoiHogne, 
three days after the service at the Invalides, 
his mind must have been full of the difficulties 
which he was making for himself as well as of 
his plans against England. 

While maturing his scheme for the joint 
Coronation and Consecration and making the 
first indirect advances to the Vatican through 
his chosen agents, Napoleon decided that 
Josephine should spend part of August and 
September at Aix-la-Chapelle. There were the 
waters for her to take, and beside, he contem- 
plated joining her there later for a different pur- 
pose of his own. He determined that his wife 
should travel in state befitting her new rank. 
The party to accompany her numbered in aU 

380 The Empress Josephine 

about fifty persons, and the scale upon which 
the journey was conducted may be gathered 
from the fact that the expenses by the way 
amounted to twelve thousand francs. Napoleon 
himself drew up the route by which Aix was to 
be reached ; and not only this, but also gave 
instructions as to every detail of the trip. He 
even dictated beforehand, it was said, the 
answers which Josephine was to make to the 
addresses of welcome which would be presented 
to her, and she spent her time in the carriage 
learning by heart the words which she was to 
utter to complimentary prefects and mayors. 
She was an Empress now, and weight would be 
attached to her language. Therefore Napoleon 
preferred that this language should have his 
sanction before it proceeded from her lips. 

The line of advance toward Aix prescribed 
by Napoleon lay through Soissons, Reims, 
Sedan, and Liege. No one dared to suggest a 
departure from the programme, although an 
incident which occurred before they reached 
Liege must have tempted the travellers to 
disobey. The Emperor had directed them to 
drive by a road which was marked upon the 
map but was not yet completed in reality. The 

An Arduous Journey 381 

way was therefore very rough, and in going 
uphill the carriages had to be roped together. 
Josephine, a poor traveller at the best of times, 
was in a state of terror, cr5dng out that she must 
get out of the carriage. The absent Emperor's 
orders, however, prevailed and, despite fears and 
lamentations, the journey continued. Nightfall 
iound the party at a small village, where nothing 
could be obtained except mattresses on the floor, 
and not even enough of them for ah. It was 
indeed with feelings of relief that all finally 
saw the houses of Aix and prepared to rest 
from their fatigues. A great demonstration 
awaited the Empress, who entered the town 
between lines of saluting troops and under 
triumphal arches. Unhappily the accommoda- 
tion provided did not equal the welcome. The 
so-called Palace was a ruinous building, and far 
too small to meet the calls upon its space. It 
became at last necessary to depart from in- 
structions, and on the day after her arrival 
Josephine moved into the Prefecture, which had 
been put at her disposal by its occupants. 

Before the arrival of the Emperor the days 
at Aix were very quiet. Josephine found the 
society of the place insufficient to make her for- 

3^2 The Empress Josephine 

get that she had come partly to take the waters. 
Indeed Corvisart had accompanied her for the 
express purpose of superintending her " cure," 
which shows that not yet had all hope been 
abandoned of her bearing a child to Napoleon. 
There is a letter from the Emperor, dated 
Ostend, August 14, in which he writes : 
" Mon amie, I have not received news from you 
for several days. I should, however, have 
been very glad to learn of the good effect of 
the waters and in what manner you pass your 

The second part of Napoleon's question might 
easily have been answered by Josephine if she 
had said that she made the best of the only 
possible amusements which were to be had. 
There were visits to be paid in the daytime to 
the local sights and manufactures, a hunt or 
two, walks and picnics ; in the evening, an 
indifferent German opera, relieved by a visiting 
theatrical company from Paris, a ball given 
by Josephine herself, and some parties for whist 
or other card-games. A peaceful provincial 
existence, indeed, for Josephine ! Perhaps the 
most notable event was a visit to the cathedral 
to see the rehcs which tradition made a gift to 

AiX'Ia'Chapelle 383 

Charlemagne from the Empress Irene. These 
were kept in an iron chest, hidden by a wall which 
was pulled down once in every seven years and 
then built up again. Among them was a 
small box of silver-gilt, the ability to open which 
showed that the opener would be fortunate to 
the end of his or her days. It was perhaps 
hardly strange, seeing that Josephine's visit 
was expected, that when the box was put into 
her hands she had no difficulty in opening it. 
The arrival of Napoleon on September 3 
made a complete change at Aix. He had gone 
from Ostend back to Boulogne, where he had 
been contemplating a descent upon England 
which he was reluctantly compelled to abandon. 
To the dismay of the Empress and her ladies, 
he informed them that they must be ready to 
accompany him to Mayence to meet the Prince 
of Baden and his family. First, however, there 
would be a further stay of ten days at Aix, 
The envoy of the Emperor Francis was there, 
on behalf of his master, to greet Napoleon, and 
to present the letters accrediting him to the 
French Court. This was Count Cobentzel, well 
known previously at the Court of Catherine the 
Great. Other nations had also hastened to send 

384 The Empress Josephine 

their representatives, and up to September 12 
there was a constant round of receptions, dinners, 
excursions, and other festivities. In particular, 
Napoleon was anxious to be seen paying honour 
to the reUcs of Charlemagne, whose name it was 
useful to recaU at a time when he himself was 
asking for one of the privileges of Charlemagne. 
Josephine accompanied him to the tomb of the 
hero, was shown a " fragment of the true 
Cross " which he had been wont to carry about 
with him, and had the good taste to refuse an 
arm which she was offered from among his 

An interesting letter written by Josephine 
from Aix to her daughter, whose second child 
was to be born in the following November, 
is preserved in the collection edited by the latter. 
" The Emperor," Josephine writes, " has read 
your letter. He seemed to me vexed at not 
hearing from you sometimes. He would not 
make accusations against your heart, if he knew 
it as I do ; but appearances are against you. 
Since he may think that you are neglecting 
him, do not lose an instant in repairing the 
imaginary wrong. Tell him that discretion has 
made you not write to him, that your affection 

Advice to Hortcnse 385 

has suffered under the rule which respect im- 
posed upon you ; that, as he has always shown 
you a father's kindness and tenderness, it would 
be sweet to you to offer him the homage of your 
gratitude. Speak to him also of the hope which 
you cherish of seeing me again at the time of 
your confinement. I cannot think of being far 
from you at that time. Be sure, my dear 
Hortense, that nothing shall prevent my coming 
to look after you. So speak about it to Bona- 
parte, who loves you as his own child, which 
adds much to my feelings toward him." 

Both her extreme anxiety to please Napoleon 
and her affection for her daughter are well 
shown in this letter, one of the most effective 
documents in her defence against the charges of 
lack of wifely and motherly instincts. 

The period allowed for the stay at Aix having 
come to an end, Josephine accompanied the 
Emperor to Cologne. The journey brought on 
an indisposition — the usual migraine — but she 
was not allowed therefore to escape the duty of 
meeting the Elector of Bavaria and joining in 
the festivities, which lasted for four days. On 
September 16 she left for Coblentz, where 
Napoleon rejoined her next day to be present at 

VOL. II 4 

386 The Empress Josephine 

a ball given in their honour. From Coblentz 
they proceeded to MayencCj Napoleon by land 
and Josephine along the Rhine on a yacht put 
at her disposal by the Prince of Nassau- Weilburg. 
At Mayence another round awaited them of 
what passes at courts for gaiety, and the severe 
etiquette and long hours made Josephine and 
the ladies who accompanied her pray for escape 
to Paris. The town was full of German princes, 
notably those of Baden, Bavaria, and Hesse ; 
and the formation of the Confederation of the 
Rhine, under Napoleon's suzerainty, was plainly 
foreshadowed. But it may be doubted whether 
the political importance of this exacting tour 
was appreciated by Josephine and her ladies, 
ill-lodged for the most part, tired by their 
journeys, and oppressed by a ceremonial to 
which they were as yet unaccustomed. It was 
not until October 2 that they were released. 
On that day, leaving Napoleon to make his way 
back more slowly by a different route, 
Josephine started for Paris by way of Spire, 
Nancy, and Chalons. She had been absent for 
two months, during one month of which she had 
an excellent opportunity of forming an opinion 
of the more arduous part of the life of a 

A Lesson Well Learnt 387 

sovereign. She learnt her lesson well, and among 
the characteristics which helped to persuade 
Napoleon that no wife could suit him better 
than Josephine was the uncomplaining way 
in which she always endured the fatigues of 
her station. 



ON his return from the Rhine Napoleon 
determined to make known to his inner 
Cabinet that he not only wished to have him- 
self consecrated and crowned by the Pope, 
but also Josephine with him. His three confi- 
dants were Joseph Bonaparte, Cambaceres, and 
Lebrun. His brother made the strongest ob- 
jections to the scheme, and it was with difficulty 
that Napoleon restrained himself in face of 
Joseph's attitude. To make matters worse, 
after leaving the council Joseph proceeded to 
discuss indignantly with his personal friends 
the whole project, and particularly the idea that 
the Imperial princesses should carry the Em- 
press's train at the Coronation. One of these 
friends repeated what he had heard to Fouch6, 
remarking that naturally Mme. Joseph, being a 
virtuous woman, would find such a duty pain- 
ful. Fouche told his friend Josephine, through 


Fromra painting by David at tlie Louvre. 

P- 388. 

Josephine and Pius VII. 389 

whom the remark reached Napoleon. The 
Emperor was more hurt than his wife. But, 
after all, Joseph had no power to do more than 
protest. If the Pope could be persuaded to 
come to Paris, the Emperor would be in a 
position to dictate ; or so at least it must have 
seemed to the latter. 

The story of the relations between Josephine 
and Pius VII. is a most curious and entertaining 
one. They begin in January 1803, when Pius 
sent a sub-legate to convey their hats to the 
new French cardinals. His Hohness was ob- 
viously ignorant of the early history of the First 
Consul's wife. He gave to the sub-legate a 
special brief commending him to his " beloved 
daughter in Christ, Victoria Bonaparte " (dilectce 
in Christo filiee VidoricB Bonaparte) ; the mis- 
take in the name can hardly have been inten- 
tional. A year later, on January 13, 1804, 
Josephine wrote to Pius, sending him a rochet 
which she had had made for him, and for which, 
by the way. Napoleon paid. Her messenger 
was her cousin Louis Tascher, who was con- 
veying a letter from Napoleon himself to the 
Pope. Tascher brought back a letter of thanks 
from Pius, who wrote to Josephine again in 

39° The Empress Josephine 

June — still calling her carissimcB in Christo 
filicB nostrcB VidoricB, Gallorum Imperatrici — 
begging her to use her influence on her hus- 
band for the increase among the French^ and 
the protection and preservation, of the Catholic 
religion; and he bestowed upon her his apostolic 

This friendhness of the Pope toward his wife 
accorded well with Napoleon's scheme. In May 
1804 he had begun to sound Pius, through the 
well-dispQsed Legate Caprara, on the subject of a 
journey to Paris to crown him Emperor of the 
French. On the day that Caprara wrote to the 
Vatican, there was an evening reception in 
Josephine's salon at Saint-Cloud. Here Na- 
poleon discoursed with Caprara enthusiastically 
on the advantage to rehgion which his glorious 
idea promised. Caprara was prepared to do his 
utmost to promote relations between Rome and 
Paris. But at the Vatican the Papal Secretary 
of State, Cardinal Consalvi, had no such reasons 
for wishing to be on good terms with Napoleon, 
and proved a considerable obstacle in the way of 
a settlement, even delaying to send to Caprara 
letters accrediting him to the new French 
Government until June. 

Napoleon and the Vatican 391 

The prolonged negotiations concerning the 
Pope's visit to Paris are given very fully in M. 
Masson's volume on " Le Sacre et le Couronne- 
ment de Napoleon," which should be read by 
all who are interested in the history of an 
extraordinary intrigue. The advisers of Pius 
inaposed conditions with which Napoleon's re- 
cent oath " to respect and enforce respeqt for the 
laws of the Concordat and the liberty of religious 
cults " made it difficult, or rather impossible, to 
comply ; and they wished the ceremony to take 
place on Christmas Day, which was much later 
than Napoleon intended. The Sacred College, 
moreover, although they did not put the demand 
into writing, cherished hopes of a restoration of 
the Legations to Rome. Further difficulties 
soon arose. Consalvi wished to dictate the 
terms of the formal letter of invitation from 
Napoleon to His HoHness. Then Cardinal 
Fesch at Rome, as the Emperor's uncle, did not 
want the negotiations to proceed without his 
OAvn intervention ; an intervention which hardly 
tended at first to hasten the progress of affairs. 
He wrote, however, in so unjustifiably sanguine 
a strain to Paris that as early as the middle of 
June Josephine welcomed Caprara at one of her 

39'^ The Empress Josephine 

receptions with the words : " So we are to have 
the Holy Father in Paris to consecrate the 
Emperor, my husband ! " The Cardinal Legate 
knew better than she how matters actually stood, 
and can Uttle have expected at this time that 
before six months had passed her words would 
be proved true. 

The publication of the scheme in France 
aroused immediately a strong opposition outside 
Roman Catholic circles. It was with difficulty 
that Napoleon could make an adequate defence 
against the attacks coming from various quarters. 
The double task of proving to the Pope that 
religion would benefit greatly by his journey to 
Paris and of proving to France that the Roman 
Church would not benefit at all by that journey, 
would have proved too much for most men. 
His apology to France for the Consecration 
ceremony cannot have sounded very convincing. 
The sacre, he said, was " an invocation of the 
heavenly power on behalf of a new djmasty, 
an invocation made according to the ordinary 
forms of the oldest, most general, and most 
popular cult of France." To succeed at Rome 
it needed all the aid of Talleyrand (ex-Bishop of 
Autun !), of Fesch, and still more of falsehood. 

The Pope Persuaded 393 

But success came at last. On September 4 
Fesch wrote to Talleyrand that the Pope had 
agreed to come. He had taken on himself to 
make certain promises (which undoubtedly he 
wished, as a churchman, to see Napoleon carry 
out) with regard to the concessions to be made 
to the Papacy, the ceremonial to be observed 
at Paris, and the terms of the formal letter of 
invitation. Napoleon, on receiving at Cologne 
news that the Pope was prepared to consent, 
did not trouble to ask what promises his uncle 
had made, but wrote on September 15 a letter 
to Pius in which he not only passed over the 
subject of concessions, but did not even pay 
regard to the ordinary usage of Christian princes 
in writing to His Holiness. Moreover, he 
despatched the letter to Rome by the hands of 
an aide-de-camp, whereas it had been stipulated 
that it should be conveyed by two French 
bishops. So much was Pius chagrined by the 
breach of faith that he seriously contemplated 
withdrawing his promise to go to Paris. It 
required an adroit mixture of prayers and 
menaces from Fesch to persuade him that it was 
now too late to withdraw. Pius yielded, and on 
November 2 commenced his journey from Rome. 

394 The Empress Josephine 

It had been designed by Napoleon to have the 
combined Coronation and Consecration on the 
i8 brumaire, the fifth anniversary of the coup 
d'Etat which had made him master of France. 
And, although when he left Paris for Boulogne 
in the middle of July, all was in a state of uncer- 
tainty, he had given orders for preparations to be 
commenced at Notre-Dame and in the Pavilion 
of Flora at the Tuileries respectively for the 
Coronation service and the lodging of the Pope. 
When it became certain that, if the Pope came at 
all, he could not arrive on the i8 brumaire, it was 
given out that the date would be the 5 frimaire 
(November 26). Delay was both annoying and 
expensive as soon as arrangements had become 
definite, and civil, military, and naval repre- 
sentatives had begun to crowd into Paris from 
the provinces. Every day increased the cost 
to the nation. Each National Guard alone, 
for instance, who came to Paris received five 
francs a day, half of which came from the 
Treasury, half from the departmental funds. 
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the un- 
fortunate Pius was harassed on his journey 
by constant reminders that haste was impera- 
tive. Finally he was informed that a post- 

Pius in France 395 

ponement had been made to the 11 frimaire 
(December 2), but that the Coronation would 
take place positively on that date, whether he 
were in Paris or not. 

A hurried and uncomfortable journey brought 
the Pope on the 4 frimaire to Fontainebleau, 
where a strange comedy took place. Napoleon 
was unable to find a suitable French precedent 
for the reception of the Holy Father by a 
sovereign of France. The meeting must be 
accidental, he decided. The Emperor Joseph 
IL of Austria had met Pope Pius VL unex- 
pectedly when out hunting. Napoleon set out 
for Fontainebleau with Josephine and arranged 
a hunting party in the forest for the 4 frimaire — 
which was Sunday, November 25. At midday 
he was at the cross of Saint-Herem, in full 
hunting costume, when the Pope's cavalcade 
was observed approaching. The carriage stopped 
and, while Napoleon dismounted from his horse, 
Pius stepped out in his white robes and white 
silk shoes on the muddy ground. The Emperor 
of thirty-five years and the Pope of sixty-two 
fell into each other's atms. An Imperial carriage 
drove up. Napoleon hastened to take the right- 
hand seat, and with the Pope on his left drove 

39^ The Empress Josephine 

to the chiteau of Fontainebleau. What need 
was there to discuss etiquette, when the Emperor 
was making it for himself and the rest of the 
world ? 

A little rest was allowed to the weary Pius at 
Fontainebleau. On the Sunda)'- afternoon he 
paid short visits to the apartments of the 
Emperor and Empress ; but it was not until next 
day that the real business began. A dinner 
was to take place at the chateau at which, beside 
the Pope, Emperor and Empress, there were to 
be present Cardinal Fesch, Joseph Bonaparte, 
and Eugene Beauharnais. But in the course of 
the day a terrible revelation was made ; nothing 
less, indeed, than the fact that, in the eyes of 
the Church, Napoleon and Josephine had never 
been married at all. The blow was tremendous 
to His Holiness. To quote the words of M. 
Masson : ^ 

" That there had been presented to him, as 
though she were a legitimate wife. Napoleon's 
concubine, living with him outside the Church's 
laws, in a state of mortal sin ; that he had been 
made to address to this woman eulogistic briefs, 
in which he had acknowledged her as Empress 

1 -' Le Sacre et le Couronnement de Napoleon," 153. 

A Terrible Discovery 397 

of the French and his dear daughter in Christ, 
and in which he commended the Cathohc Church 
to her protection — this was enough. But that 
it was upon this woman that he was to bestow 
the greatest of the sacraments, the triple unction 
given with the chrism reserved for bishops, made 
of oil and balm, quia per oleum infusio graticB, 
per balsamum odor bonce fames designatur — this 
passed beyond all bounds." 

It is not surprising to hear that, when the dis- 
closure had been made, Pius declii^ed to attend 
the concert in the Empress's room after dinner, 
or that he had Napoleon notified that he would 
take no part in the Coronation service until he 
had received proofs that the Imperial couple had 
received the sacrament of marriage. Napoleon 
was placed in a difficult position. He could not 
now dispense with the Pope's assistance and 
have a purely civil Coronation ceremony, for 
that would prove to his Roman Catholic sub- 
jects that he had attempted to trick His Holiness 
and also advertise the fact that he had never 
been married to Josephine, according to their 
ideas. Nor could he publicly explain why he had 
not yet taken the step in his own case and 
Josephine's which he had considered necessary 

39^ The Empress Josephine 

in the cases of his sisters and of Louis. There 
was no third alternative to yielding to the de- 
mand of Pius or throwing him over and entirely 
undoing that work of conciliating the Church 
to which he had devoted no Uttle labour since 
he had established himself as the ruler of France. 
He could not hesitate. He agreed to an 
ecclesiastical marriage, only reserving the right 
of having it performed in secret. 

Accordingly, when he drove into Paris with 
Pius on November 28, he was under promise 
to make Josephine his wife in the eyes of the 
Church as she was already in those of the law, 
Josephine had returned to Paris a few hours 
before him. Imbert de Saint- Amand pictures 
her a devout daughter of the Church, rejoicing 
in the thought that she was at last to become 
Napoleon's wife in very deed. No doubt 
Josephine rejoiced at the idea of the religious 
ceremony, but hardly on the grounds alleged 
by Saint-Amand, for devotion to the Church 
cannot be considered a prominent trait in her 
character. The thought which was likely to 
bring her joy was that the religious marriage 
would be an additional protection to her against 
divorce. She was reaping the reward of a wise 

Religious Marriage at Last 399 

discretion. We never hear at any period of a 
plea from her to Napoleon that he should marry 
her according to the rites of the Church. But, 
when all was in train for the Consecration and 
Coronation which Napoleon wished her to share 
with him at the hands^of the Pope, she allowed 
Pius to know that she was, according to his 
views, living in mere concubinage with the 
Emperor. Nothing more was necessary. She 
had not designed the dramatic situation. She 
merely took advantage of it ; and, without 
the necessity of an appeal to Napoleon (as far 
as we know), she gained all that she wanted. 

The promised marriage took place in the 
Tuileries chapel on the night of November 30. 
Fesch performed the ceremony, and the only 
witnesses were Talleyrand and Marshal Berthier. 
A profound secrecy was observed ; but the 
requirements of Pope Pius were satisfied. 

There stiU remained in dispute the question 
as to the ceremonial to be adopted for the 
Consecration. Neither the ancient French form 
nor the Roman Pontifical pleased Napoleon. 
A new model, consisting of a mixture of the two, 
with additions considered suitable to the tmique 
occasion, was drawn up by the Minister of Public 

400 The Empress Josephine 

Worship, PortaHs, with the assistance of Cam- 
baceres, now Grand Chancellor, de Pradt, and 
Josephine's friend S^gur. This was presented to 
the Pope, and, although it was designed to mini- 
mise as far as possible the subjection of State 
to Church, it was substantially accepted. Pius 
even agreed to Napoleon's placing of the crown 
upon his own head. As M. Masson satisfactorily 
shows, the legend of Napoleon departing from 
the agreed form and seizing his crown from 
the Pope to put it on his head with his own 
hands, although it dates from the time of Thiers 
and has been widely accepted, is upset by the 
text of the Pope's prayers in the printed order 
of service. 

Pius showed himself very accommodating, 
especially when we consider that he had obtained 
no confirmation of Cardinal Fesch's verbal pro- 
mises on behalf of his nephew ; but on one 
point at the very last moment he remained 
firm and gained the day. The Emperor desired 
that the Te Deum should not be sung until the 
end of the whole service, which he intended to 
include the administration of the constitutional 
oath. Pius, however, on his part, had no 
intention of being present at the oath, since 

Arrangements for the Ceremony 401 

thereby the Emperor swore to respect the hberty 
of cults in France. Recognising again the 
necessity of a concession, Napoleon consented 
that the Te Deum should follow the enthrone- 
ment and that the constitutional oath should 
not be administered until Mass was finished and 
the Pope had withdrawn to a side chapel. The 
Pope in his turn made a last concession, absolving 
Napoleon from the duty of communicating on 
the morning of the Coronation ; and nothing 
further remained in dispute. 

On the morning of December 2, the appointed 
day, the Duchesse d'Abrantes records that she 
was one of those who breakfasted with the 
Empress. Josephine was agitated but happy. 
She spoke of all the amiable things which 
Napoleon had said to her already that morning 
and how he had tried her crown upon her. 
Tears were falUng as she told this. Then she 
related how she had begged that Lucien might 
be allowed to return to Paris, but in vain. 
" Bonaparte answered me sharply, and I was 
obliged to desist. I wished to prove to Lucien 
that I can return good for evil. If you have 
the chance, let him know," she asked Mme. 
Junot. The story is curious but not improbable. 
VOL. II 5 

402 The Empress Josephine 

Josephine, as Napoleon had once told Lucien, 
had no more gall than a pigeon. Truly Lucien 
offered her a fine opportunity of returning good 
for evil ; no one had ever done her greater 
wrong except Alexandre de Beauhamais. 

The two Napoleons were masters in the art of 
organising public shows, but it may be doubted 
whether any of the great occasions under either 
Empire^ even including the marriage of Napoleon 
III. and the Empress Eugenie nearly fifty 
years later, were distinguished by such magni- 
ficence as was seen at Notre-Dame and in Paris 
generally on December 2, 1804. The celebra- 
tions began at six o'clock on the preceding 
evening, all the heights in the city being illumin- 
ated with Bengal Hghts, while artillery salutes 
were fired regularly up to midnight. The pre- 
parations for the procession began before 
daylight, and the doors of Notre-Dame were open 
as early as six for the admission of those who 
were to be present at the service. The streets 
from the Tuileries to the Cathedral were hned 
on either side by a triple row of troops in the 
new uniforms which had been given out to them 
on the 18 brumaire. At nine o'clock Pope Pius 
left his rooms in the PaviUon of Flora and 

The Procession to Nbtre'Dame 403 

drove to Notre-Dame in a coach drawn by 
eight dapple-grey horses, escorted by a squad- 
ron of dragoons. The coach itself had been 
Josephine's and had been speeialiy prepared for 
the Pope on this occasion. At half-past ten 
His Hohness appeared in the Cathedral and 
made his way to his throne. The morning was 
intensely cold, but the long-suffering Pius 
mounted to his seat and sat waiting for mOre 
than an hour. In his singularly pale face, 
almost as white as his robes, his eyes were closed 
and only his mouth could be seen moving in 
prayer. During the long wait few signs were 
to be seen of the subjection of State to Church 
which some of the Emperor's subjects so 

Napoleon and Josephine left the Tuileries 
about half-past ten, half an hour later than the 
appointed time. Josephine is perhaps not to 
be blamed for the delay, for one of her good 
points in Napoleon's eyes was that she never 
kept him waiting, however elaborate her toiliet. 
The departure from the Palace was announced 
by the firing of gums, and all along the route the 
crowd was in a great state of excitement. The 
^ze of the procession and the narrowness of the 

404 The Empress Josephine 

streets, with the troops in front and the dense 
masses of sightseers behind, made progress very 
slow. But this gave more opportunity to wit- 
ness the details of the show as it passed. The 
procession was composed of twenty-five carriages 
in all, drawn by one hundred and fifty-two 
horses, of six regiments of cavalry, and a vast 
staff of mounted officers. At the head rode 
Murat, Governor of Paris. The carriages of the 
masters of the ceremonies, of the great officials, 
and of the Imperial princesses preceded the 
Emperor, those of the officers and ladies of the 
various households followed. In the centre of 
aU came the Imperial coach, drawn by eight 
dun-coloured horses with white plumes upon 
their heads. The coach had so much glass in 
its construction that almost the whole of the 
interior could be seen. The framework was 
heavily gilt and decorated with medallions, 
palms, and branches of laurel and ohves, while 
on the top was a large model of Charlemagne's 
crown upborne on an altar supported by four 
golden eagles. The inside was hned with white 
velvet, embroidered with gold, and the ceiling 
and sides were adorned with a winged thunder- 
bolt, a crowned N, olive and laurel wreaths, 

The Dresses 405 

stars and swarm of bees, the symbol which 
Napoleon had borrowed from the Merovingian 
Childeric. The Emperor sat on the right hand, 
with Josephine at his left and Joseph and Louis 
facing them. Napoleon was in a Spanish 
costume of purple velvet, embroidered in gold, 
with a mantle to match, and covered with jewels. 
His brothers were in white velvet costumes, cut 
like his own. Josephine wore a long-sleeved 
waistless robe of white satin, sown with gold 
bees and embroidered with both gold and silver, 
while a profusion of diamonds covered her cor- 
sage and the upper parts of the sleeves. A 
white velvet mantle, with gold embroidery, hung 
from her shoulders, and gold-embroidered white 
velvet shoes were on her feet. From the bills, 
which were preserved, it appears that her robe 
alone cost ten thousand francs, her mantle seven 
thousand, and her shoes six hundred and fifty. 
But all this was eclipsed by her diadem of four 
rows of pearls united by foliage of diamonds, 
which cost more than a million. 

It was eleven o'clock when the coach reached 
the Cathedral. Napoleon and Josephine had 
now to clothe themselves afresh. Napoleon put 
on a white satin tunic and knee-breeches, with 

4o6 The Empress Josephine 

a huge purple velvet mantle, embroidered in 
gold and lined with ermine ; while on his head 
he wore a laurel wreath in gold. Josephine had 
another white satin robe, ornamented with gold 
fringes, which figure in the bill at ten thousand 
francs the robe and over one thousand the 
fringes. Her new mantle was no less than 
twenty ells in length, purple in colour hke her 
husband's and sown by golden bees. Its em- 
broidery had cost sixteen hundred francs, and 
its Russian ermine lining ten thousand. In 
order that her diamond-decked breast might not 
be covered, the mantle was fastened to the left 
shoulder only and by a clasp at the waist, 
making its weight very awkward to bear. 
Five princesses, all in white satin embroidered 
with gold and with white plumes and diamonds 
in their hair, were deputed to assist her in 
the task. These were the three sisters of the 
Emperor, Joseph's wife Juhe, and her own 
daughter Hortense. To induce his sisters to 
perform this act of service to Josephine had cost 
Napoleon many displays of anger, and it was 
only after threats of exile from France that they 
had consented to hold — they would not " carry " 
— the train. In compensation, each princess 



From n sketch by David for his picture of the Coronation. 

p. 406 

A Blaze of Colour 407 

was allowed to have an officer of her own house- 
hold to follow her and uphold her mantle. The 
resentment of Josephine's sisters-in-law was 
not appeased, however, according to the rumours 
of the day. 

The Emperor and Empress advanced from the 
vestry at a quarter to twelve, amid a gorgeous 
mass of colour, in which the prominent hues 
were the violet and gold of the heralds, green 
and black of the ushers, green and gold of the 
pages, violet and silver of the masters of cere- 
monies, blue and gold of the marshals, and the 
scarlets, greens, and blues of the officers of 
the Imperial Household. The Cardinal Arch- 
bishop of Paris, assisted by another cardinal, 
came forward to meet them with holy water 
and an address of welcome, and as soon as they 
had been conducted to their thrones the Pope 
arose from his and came down to intone the 
" Veni Creator." 

The whole ceremony at Notre-Dame occupied 
nearly three hours, including the administration 
of the constitutional oath, during which the 
Pope and his suite withdrew. Not only cold 
assailed the spectators on this bitter December 
day, but also hunger, although hawkers of light 

4o8 The Empress Josephine 

refreshment were allowed to enter the Cathedral. 
But for the music (of which there was so much 
that the band-parts comprised more than seven- 
teen thousand pages) the greater part of the 
congregation could enjoy but little of the service 
We quote the words of M. Masson ^ : 

" In accordance with Napoleon's wishes, the 
details of the first part of the ceremony were 
only seen ' by priests or by men who through 
the superiority of their intellect had the faith 
of the eighth century.' So the oath, the an- 
ointings, the blessing, and the delivery of the 
insignia passed unnoticed. It was with difficulty 
that the Emperor was seen when, ascending to 
the altar and turning toward the congregation, 
he crowned himself ; he disappeared as he came 
down the steps and proceeded to crown the 
Empress. The advance toward the Grand 
Throne for the enthronement produced a sensa- 
tion. The Empress mounted the first five 
steps and then the weight of the mantle, no 
longer upheld by the princesses, who remained 
at the foot of the steps, caused her to stumble 

1 -' Le Sacre et le Couronnement de Napoleon," 209-10. 
Those interested in the order of the service should consult 
M. Masson's book ; and also Imbert de Saint-Amand, " La 
Cour de I'lmp^ratrice Jos6phine," 66 fi. 

A Strange Mishap 409 

and almost carried her backwards. She was 
obliged to summon all her nerve-force to 
straighten herself and continue the ascent. 
Had her train-bearers planned this revenge ? 
It was believed so. What exculpates them is 
that a similar mishap befell the Emperor. 
He too stumbled and was seen to make a sHght 
movement backward ; but with a vigorous 
effort he recovered himself and quickly mounted 
the steps." 

The enthronement over, the Pope kissed the 
Emperor's cheek and pronounced the " Vivat 
Imperator in cBternum." The two orchestras 
struck into the music of the Abbe Rose. At 
the end of the Mass the Pope retired with his 
cardinals and clergy, while Napoleon took the 
constitutional oath. A herald then proclaimed 
" The most glorious and august Emperor 
Napoleon, Emperor of the French, consecrated 
and enthroned." The Cathedral clergy gathered 
about the throne to lead out the Emperor and 
Empress. The magnificent ceremony was at 
an end, and without a mishap. It was true 
that there had been the stumbles on the steps, 
Napoleon had yawned once, the Archbishop's 
opening address had been cut short by a sign 

4IO The Empress Josephine 

from Duroc (plainly inspired by his master), 
and as the party left the Cathedral Napoleon 
had been seen to thrust his sceptre into Cardinal 
Fesch's back to attract his attention. But 
otherwise nothing had marred the dignity of 
the occasion. 

Josephine, in particular, had acted admirably 
and appeared perfect. She had looked more 
like twenty-five than forty-one, says Mme. 
de Remusat. The Emperor was well pleased 
with the day and with her. Dining alone with 
her at the Tuileries that night, after they had 
driven back with her over the long route chosen 
for the return to the Palace, cheered the whole 
way by enthusiastic crowds, he had insisted 
that she should keep on her head the crown 
" which became her so weU." Had she not 
every reason for satisfaction also ? No one 
now could cast any doubt upon her position as 
legitimate wife and Empress, and there could 
hardly have been in her mind on this day 
any lingering fear of a divorce. The combined 
Coronation and Consecration was certainly an 
extraordinary honour for Josephine, one which 
no Queen of France since Marie de Medici had 
received ; and not even she at the same time 

The Empress's Tdumph 4 1 1 

as her husband. Marie de Medici^ moreover, 
had been a possible future Regent, whereas on 
Napoleon's death the regency would not fall 
to Josephine. " To consecrate and crown 
Josephine," says M. Masson, " was an act of 
sentiment and had nothing to do with politics or 
with reason." This act of sentiment was the 
supreme witness of Napoleon's love for his wife. 
It was manifested in httle more than a year 
after the period when he was supposed to be 
growing tired of her, and might well have been 
taken to prove the falsity of such suggestions. 
It was true that Napoleon did not take 
much trouble to conceal any longer that he 
had occasional attractions toward other women. 
At this very period of the Coronation he cast 
his eyes upon a Mme. Duchatel, the pretty young 
wife of an old Councillor of State, who had re- 
cently joined the Empress's Household. Jose- 
phine suspected infidelity at the time when the 
Pope was being received at Fontainebleau, but 
thought that it was by Marshal Ney's wife that 
Napoleon's fancy was caught. She discovered 
the truth, according to Mme. de Remusat, by 
actually surprising the guilty lady with her 
husband at Saint-Cloud. There was a violent 

412 The Empress Josephine 

scene, where Napoleon, almost on the eve of the 
Coronation, if we may believe the memoirists, 
angrily revived the talk of divorce. But tears, 
and a reconciliation, soon followed, and Jose- 
phine did not even dismiss Mme. Duchatel from 
her Household. She had begun to recognise 
that it would be well to allow the Emperor some 
distraction — " the amusements," in fact, " in 
which his affection had no part." 



THE Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine 
was followed by a series of day and night 
festivities in honour of Emperor and Empress, 
organised by the public bodies and various 
sections of the community — assuredly one of 
the most elaborate series of entertainments 
known in history. Money was spent by the 
million of francs. The cost of the ceremony of 
December 2 was only allowed by Napoleon 
to have been three millions. In reality it 
probably cost ten millions, while enemies of the 
Government reckoned the figure at fifty to sixty 
millions. And the expense continued long after 
the day of the Coronation. On December 3 
was the popular fete all over Paris, when the 
city became hke a fair with its dancing-halls, 
roundabouts, and shows. Food was distributed 
free of charge, so that in spite of the cold the 
mob was in good spirits. Heralds also went 


4H The Empress Josephine 

about scattering commemorative medals, of 
which thirteen thousand were struck in gold 
and seventy-five thousand in silver. At night 
fireworks and illuminations kept sightseers out 
in the streets, heedless of the temperature. 

The municipality of Paris was among the 
foremost to make a display of its loyalty ; and 
on such a scale that the debt incurred took 
several years to clear off. The entertainment 
began with the arrival at the Hotel de Ville of 
the Emperor, Empress, and the Princes Joseph 
and Louis, in the same coach and in the same 
costume as in the procession of December 2. 
In the Throne Room Josephine found waiting 
for her a silver-gilt toilet set, afterwards valued 
at more than fourteen thousand francs, which 
the President of the Municipal Council begged 
her to accept in a most flattering speech. A 
banquet followed in the newly named Hall of 
Victories, where Napoleon and Josephine dined 
at a table by themselves raised on a platform 
above the rest of the guests. A symphony by 
Haydn accompanied the dinner, and at its con- 
clusion there was a great firework display, one 
of the set-pieces representing Napoleon crossing 
the Saint-Bernard. At the end of all came a 


From an en,:<raviiig; after the picture by F. Giirard. 

Festivities in Paris 415 

ball, in which seven hundred people took 

So the festivities went on, the Marshals of 
the Empire, the Senate, and the Legislative 
Body all striving to outdo the city of Paris, 
while at the Tuileries the Emperor and Empress 
played the part of hosts in the manner dear to 
Napoleon's heart. Among their guests was one 
who found the gaiety a little excessive ; namely. 
Pope Pius VII., who was observed discreetly to 
retire when the banquet at the Tuileries on 
December 4 gave place to a ballet in which 
Mme. Vestris and her companions played before 
the assembled company a " pastoral diversion." 

However, His Holiness did not tire of Paris, 
it appeared. He made a stay of four months, 
giving audiences, visiting the churches, and 
seeing the sights. People began to talk of 
Napoleon having asked him to divide his year 
between Rome and Paris. But, as a matter 
of fact, the prolonged visit was not entirely in 
accordance with the wishes of Napoleon, who 
may have feared to see his guest becoming too 
popular. Pius had another reason for his stay. 
Fesch's rash promises remained unfulfiUed, and 
Napoleon showed no signs of being willing to 

4^6 The Empress Josephine 

fulfil them. Finally, seeing that there was no 
prospect of obtaining the restoration of the 
Legations to Rome nor of upsetting the liberty 
of cults in France, Pius left Paris on April 4, 
1805. There was no breach with the Emperor, 
however, who did not take leave of the Pope until 
they were both in Ttirin, Pius on his way to the 
Vatican and Napoleon bound for Milan, where 
his Italian Coronation was to take place ; and 
as he passed through Parma in early May Pius 
sent a brief praying the Emperor to preserve 
his attachment for him and to present his 
greetings to his " august spouse." In the 
Milan ceremony he was to play no part. 

Before leaving Paris Pope Pius performed an 
act very gratifying to Josephine in baptizing, 
in the Empress's apartments at Saint-Cloud, 
Napoleon-Louis, second son of Hortense and 
Louis Bonaparte. This was the child about 
whose birth Josephine manifested her anxiety 
at Aix. He was born in November 1804, and 
his baptism was delayed in order that it might 
be performed on March 27 by the Holy Father, 
in the presence of Emperor and Empress, the 
two parents, Mme. Letizia Bonaparte, lately 
arrived from Italy, and other members of the 

A Journey to Italy 417 

Imperial family, as well as the most distinguished 
personages of the Court. 

Pius left the Tuileries, as has been said, on 
April 4. Napoleon and Josephine, however, 
started for Italy from Fontainebleau several 
days before him. On the 2nd they were at 
Troyes and on the loth at Lyon, which they 
entered after passing under a triumphal arch 
erected more than a mUe outside the town. 
From Lyon Josephine wrote to her daughter 
that unanimous acclamations had greeted the 
Emperor everywhere. " He has won every 
heart ; and in the general picture of joy and 
affection toward his person it would be difficult 
for me to say which town has most distinguished 
itself." She added : " It is with great joy that 
I see the time approaching when I can embrace 
Eugene ; but my pleasure will not be complete, 
and while meeting one of my children I feel 
much sorrow in the separation from another who 
is equally dear to me." 

Napoleon had not gone to Italy on a pleasure- 
trip. On the contrary, he had some very im- 
portant business on hand. He had arranged 
to foUow up his Coronation at Paris as Emperor 
of the French by another Coronation at Milan 

VOL. II 6 

41 8 The Empress Josephine 

as King of Italy. Josephine accompanied him, 
but not in order that she should share his second 
coronation. He did not intend to set her beside 
him on the throne of Italy, of which she must 
be Queen only by courtesy. It is true that at 
Milan she was assigned an ItaUan Household, 
drawn from the ladies of the best famihes of the 
city, and that she was universally spoken of as 
the Queen, or Empress and Queen. But she 
was not Hkely to mistake the meaning of these 
honours when the ceremony of May 26 took 
place, as will be seen. 

Before proceeding to the Lombard capital, 
Napoleon made a short stay in the chateau of 
Stupinigi at Turin, whence he wrote to his 
mother his cruel letter concerning Elizabeth 
Patterson, Jerome's American wife, and sent 
orders to Jerome himself to meet him at Milan. 
From Turin he proceeded to Alessandria, and 
took the opportunity to give before Josephine, 
on the neighbouring battlefield of Marengo, 
an actual representation of the fight of five 
years ago. To complete the realism he had 
brought to him the original uniform and hat 
which he had worn at Marengo. On the 
following day. May 6, he received the wretched 

Milan's Homage 419 

Jerome into his presence and promised him 
pardon if he would renounce his wife ; which 
Jerome, in effect, did. 

On May 8, amid the salutes of artillery. 
Napoleon entered Milan with Josephine at his 
side. He found waiting to welcome him the 
Archbishop of the city, who was none other than 
Cardinal Caprara, his ally in the negotiations 
with Pius VII. He could calculate, therefore, 
through Caprara' s influence, on a warm re- 
ception in Milan above all other Italian towns 
and on the co-operation of the Lombard nobility 
in gathering together a suitable court. He 
hastened to make a good impression by re- 
pairing at once with Josephine to the Duomo 
and kneeling with her there before the altar. 
He did not work in vain, and during the whole 
time of his stay at Milan he and Josephine 
were overwhelmed with attentions and flattery 
from every class of society. If Josephine was 
but a courtesy Queen, she received at least 
as much homage as if her position were as 
official in Italy as in France. On May 25, the 
eve of the Coronation, there was a reception 
at the Monza Palace to the high Italian 
clergy, at which the Archbishop of Bergamo 

420 The Empress Josephine 

complimented her in the following extravagant 
terms : 

" Madame, if Charity were to descend from 
heaven to redress the ills of humanity, she 
would seek no other lodging than the heart of 
a queen adored by her subjects. The feeling 
of love, gratitude, and respect which animates 
all your subjects is what brings to your feet 
all the bishops of the Kingdom of Italy. Happy 
as they are in finding in your august spouse the 
most sublime elements of glory and genius, and 
in you, madame, all that goodness has that is 
worthy of adoration, it only remains for them 
to offer up prayers for the prosperity of your 
reign and to bless Heaven for combining in the 
hearts of their sovereigns all that can command 
affection and respect for supreme power." 

The Coronation took place in the Cathedral 
on the following morning. Josephine accom- 
panied her sister-in-law the Princess Elisa 
Bacciochi to seats reserved for them on a plat- 
form in the choir. She could now apprecijate 
the difference between her positions at Notre- 
Dame and at the Duomo. There was no holy 
water for her on her entry, no throne for her 
near the altar, no princesses to hold her train. 

Napoleon King of Italy 421 

With one page in attendance like Elisa, and 
having no precedence over her, she took her 
place in the choir, nothing more than a dis- 
tinguished spectator of the proceedings/ She 
did but watch Napoleon receive from the hands 
of the Archbishop of Bologna the sword, mantle, 
and ring, and take from the altar himself the 
Iron Crown of Lombardy, putting it on his head 
and crying " Dio me I'ha data, guai a chi la 
toccherd " (" God has given it to me, let him 
who shall touch it beware ! "). The words 
seem to have struck Napoleon pleasantly. In 
high good humour the same afternoon, after the 
return to the Monza Palace, he repeated them in 
French to Mme. Avrillon, Josephine's reader, 
rubbing his hands together as he did so. 

The Coronation being over and the herald 
having proclaimed " Napoleon, Emperor of the 
French and King of Italy, is crowned and 

' M. Masson says, in his " Josephine Imp6ratrice at Reine," 
that Napoleon, reflecting on the sacre at Paris, regarded that 
ceremony as an accident without consequence. Previously 
Josephine had no fixed place at political ceremonies ; nor did 
she have any such place afterwards. The sacre (he repeats) 
was, as it were, an accident and a surprise ; and in future 
Josephine had no part in the great national solemnities, 
although at the chief family events, baptisms and marriages, 
and at the Court ffites, concerts, balls, banquets, etc., she 
continued alwaj's to take the first place. 

422 The Empress Josephine 

enthroned ; long live the Emperor and King ! " 
a Te Deum was celebrated the same day at 
the church of Saint Ambrose, which Josephine 
attended with her husband. 

All Lombardy was at their feet and only 
looking for opportunities to manifest its en- 
thusiasm. One small incident may be taken as 
tjrpical of the state of affairs generally. There 
was an exhibition going on at Brera, which 
Napoleon and Josephine went over from Milan 
to see. The crush was great, and every one 
pressed forward to see the Imperial couple. As 
they went up some stairs, an old man of eighty, 
in his anxiety to get a view of them from in 
front, stumbled and was knocked down by 
other spectators. Josephine, who was close to 
the old man, hastened forward and helped him 
to rise to his feet, while the Emperor came up 
and promised to look after him. Naturally 
cheers and blessings arose among the onlookers ; 
and, naturally too, the story came out a few 
days later in the " Moniteur." No doubt the 
whole affair was entirely genuine and accidental, 
as was a somewhat similar occurrence at the 
time of the engagement of Mile, de Montijo, after- 
wards the Empress Eugenie, to Napoleon III., 

Honour for Eugene 423 

which was also duly recorded in the " Moniteur." 
But both accidents were very conveniehtly 
timed, it must be allowed. 

Josephine's chief satisfaction in coming to 
Italy was that she was able to see once more 
her son Eugene, as she had written to Hortense 
from Lyon in April. Napoleon, too, had not 
come to Italy entirely without thought of his 
step-son. On becoming King of Italy, he felt it 
due to his subjects to keep at Milan a properly 
accredited representative of himself, some one 
more than a mere figurehead, yet one on whom he 
could rely not to depart from the policy laid 
down by himself. He had already offered the 
post to Joseph, had in fact offered to make him 
King if he would renounce all right of succession 
to the throne of France. But Joseph had 
clung to the shadow and refused the substance. 
Napoleon had then thought of nominating to 
Italy Napoleon-Charles, Louis's son, reserving 
the regency to himself until the child should 
be of age, since the idea of Louis himself as 
regent did not appeal to him. It would be 
necessary for him formally to adopt the child, 
however ; and nothing would persuade Louis to 
consent to this, although he offered to go to 

4^4 The Empress Josephine 

Italy himself with his wife and children. In 
refusing the Emperor's proposal, he had alluded 
to " rumours previously current about this 
infant," which so annoyed Napoleon that he 
broke off the discussion at once. Overtures 
made by Lucien, who would not have despised 
the crown of Italy, came to nothing ; for the 
condition of reconciliation with his brother 
was still that he should put away his wife, 
and no bribes could induce Lucien to do this. 
Jerome had not yet gained full pardon, so that 
all the Bonaparte brothers were now out of the 
question. If the Emperor went outside the 
circle of his immediate family, whom could he 
find better than Eugene Beauharnais ? Eugene 
had always shown affection to him and much 
more discretion than his own brothers. He was 
now twenty-four years of age, had had an 
honourable military career, and was a success in 
society. He had given no proof of administra- 
tive ability, it was true, but then the oppor- 
tunity had never been offered to him. At any 
rate, Eugene might be given a trial. He was 
nominated as Viceroy, without any guarantee 
that he might not be replaced, and Was left with 
all the superficial appearance of power, while 

Tears and Consolation 425 

Napoleon retained, for the present at least, the 
reality. The high affairs of the kingdom were 
conducted through Paris still. 

The idea of parting with Eugene after the 
time which she had spent in his company in 
Milan was painful to Josephine. Mile, Avrillon 
teUs a story of Napoleon coming upon her one 
day as she wiped away her tears ; not an un- 
common sight, but the adoration of Italy might 
have been expected to keep her in cheerful 
spirits. He divined the cause and said to her : 
" You are crying, Josephine. That is not 
sensible of you. You cry because you must be 
separated from your son. If the absence of 
your children causes you so much grief, guess 
what I must feel. The affection which you show 
for them makes me feel sorely the unhappiness 
of having none myself." This reminder of the 
fact that she had borne him no children can 
hardly have consoled Josephine ; but Napoleon's 
consolations were often painful. 

The festivities in Italy continued up to the 
last day of their stay. After leaving Milan, they 
paid visits in succession to a number of towns, in- 
cluding those of the celebrated " Quadrilateral," 
and on June 30 they arrived at Genoa, which 

426 The Empress Josephine 

at the request of its Doge and his Government 
was to be merged into the French Empire. The 
city greeted them with a week of entertainments, 
of which the most notable was an aquatic fete 
in the middle of the harbour, where a temple 
and grounds had been constructed upon five 
large rafts moored together. Here they were 
entertained by music, while fireworks from the 
mole and illuminations on land and sea lit up the 
scene. At the end the temple was rowed over 
bodily to the shore and landed Napoleon and 
Josephine at the steps of the Doria Palace. 

But the brilliant spectacles and enthusiastic 
receptions had lasted long enough. On reaching 
Turin from Genoa Napoleon got news from 
France which made it necessary to return at 
once. Intending to travel at full speed, he pro- 
posed to Josephine that she should follow him 
at her leisure. She showed a great reluctance 
to let him go alone and besought him to take 
her with hun. At last he said : " Well, then, 
you won't have your ordinary migraine ? If 
you promise me that, I will take you." She 
promised and, strange to say, kept her promise, 
though they travelled in the one carriage, which 
did not stop until they reached Fontainebleau 

A Sudden Home'coming 427 

on July II. They had been absent for one 
hundred days, during which time there had 
hardly been a break in the round of pomp and 
adulation. To furnish a piquant contrast to the 
high living of Italy, their home-coming had been 
so rapid that no one expected them at Fontaine- 
bleau on the evening when they arrived and no 
preparations had been made to receive them. 
There was not even a meal ready, and the porter 
at the chateau, who had been Napoleon's cook 
in Egypt, as it happened, was called upon to 
provide his master and mistress with an impro- 
vised supper from what food he could lay his 
hands upon. 



THE news which had put so abrupt an end 
to the triumphal tour in Italy was that 
of the formation of a general European coalition 
against France, which called for the immediate 
presence in Paris of the Emperor. It was 
against Austria that Napoleon determined to 
strike the first blow, and at the end of September 
he started for the German frontier. Josephine, 
who had just spent her usual season at Plom- 
bieres, accompanied him as far as Strasbourg, 
where he made a four days' stay ; and when he 
went on to take command of the Army in the 
field, instead of returning to Paris she continued 
still at Strasbourg. The reason for her stay here 
is not quite so obvious as the Court historians 
would make out. According to them, Jose- 
phine's anxiety to receive news quickly frotn the 
scene of war was such that she persuaded 
Napoleon to allow her at least to remain near 


Before Austcrlitz 429 

the Rhine, if he could not take her with him. 
No letters from her to him exist to show whether 
she made this plea alone or urged other reasons 
as well. But from his brief notes written to 
her during the campaign at Austerlitz, it is evi- 
dent that he agreed to allow her to come to 
him as soon as possible.^ Naturally, one would 
think, her place would have been in Paris during 
the Emperor's absence, if only to stimulate the 
life of the capital. Napoleon, however, does not 
suggest her return thither. There was some 
reason why both he and she thought her presence 
there at the moment unnecessary or undesirable. 
It appears most likely that the ill-will of the 
Bonaparte family was feared, especially after 
the assignment of Italy to Eugene instead of 
to one of the brothers. Napoleon was under no 

' "I should much have wished to see you ; but do not count 
on my summoning you except in the event of an armistice 
or of winter quarters " (Augsburg, October 23, 1805). " The 
moment it is possible I will send for you " (Vienna, November 
15). " I shall be very glad to see you the moment affairs 
allow me to do so " (Vienna, November 16). It may be noted 
that Napoleon's letters of this period, though invariably 
affectionate, are indeed very different from those of his first 
campaign, for instance. As Imbert da Saint-Amand truly 
says (" La Cour de I'lmpdratrice Josephine," 193), they are 
'' the letters of a good husband, calmed by nearly ten years of 
married life, but in no way the letters of a lover." 

43° The Empress Josephine 

illusions now as to the treatment which his wife 
would be likely to reeivce in his absence at the 
hand of his own kinsmen and kinswomen. But 
doubtless also he allowed himself to be influenced 
by appeals from Josephine about her anxiety to 
get news from him earlier than she would be 
able to if she went back to Paris — appeals partly 
genuine and partly cloaking her growing terror 
at separation from him who was the source of 
all that now made life pleasant to her. 

Josephine lived at Strasbourg in the old epis- 
copal palace, close to the Cathedral, where once 
Marie-Antoinette had resided as dauphine. 
Having been converted during the Revolution 
into a municipal building, it had been offered 
by the town as an Imperial palace when the 
Empire began, and had been restored sufliciently 
well to make it a more comfortable dwelling 
than most of the so-called palaces in the Rhine 
neighbourhood at which Josephine occasionally 
stopped. Here she spent two months in the 
midst of a steadily growing state as the Emperor's 
successes increased. Receptions, balls, concerts, 
theatricals, and dinners occupied her evenings 
more and more, and visitors hastened to pay 
their respects to her, both French, notables on 

From n engraving: after the picture by C. Steube. 

Conduct to Order 43 1 

their way to join the army and German princes 
eager to win her favour. Josephine threw 
herself wholeheartedly into the task of pleas- 
ing Strasbourg and its visitors. The town was 
delighted with her. Seldom had it enjoyed so 
brilliant a social triumph, and never had its 
tradespeople so lavish a purchaser among them. 
Napoleon was not there, as in Paris, to keep 
jewellers, milliners, and all the other tempters 
from the door, and Josephine could without 
restraint gratify her inordinate loVe of spending 
money. It was with genuine feelings of sorrow 
that the Strasbourgers heard of her approaching 
departure. On November 16 Napoleon wrote 
to her to go to Munich by way of Baden and 
Stuttgart. " You wiU give at Stuttgart," he 
commanded, " a wedding present to the Princess 
Paul. Fifteen to twenty thousand francs will be 
sufficient ; the rest will be for presents at 
Munich to the daughters of the Electress of 
Bavaria." He prescribed her conduct in 
Germany : "Be polite, but receive all the 
homage that is offered. Everything is owed to 
you, and you owe nothing except politeness." 
Napoleon the director of his wife's behaviour was 
not forgotten in the preparations for Austerlitz. 

432 The Empress Josephine 

Josephine left Strasbourg on November 28, 
escorted by detachments of infantry and cavalry 
and sped by artillery salutes and the cheers of 
the townspeople. At Rastadt she was met by 
the Elector of Baden, an old man of seventy- 
six, who had already visited her at Stuttgart. 
Before she reached Carlsruhe the Margrave 
Louis met her and conducted her under the 
triumphal arches erected by the town and past 
the hundred-feet high column bearing the 
inscription " JosephincB, Galliarum Augusta." 
Volleys of artillery, peals of bells, and a general 
illumination welcomed her entry that evening 
into Carlsruhe when the Elector brought her 
to the palace prepared for her stay. Similar 
scenes awaited her at Stuttgart on the night of 
November 30, Wiirtemberg's ruling family con- 
ceding to her in full the homage which Napoleon 
had declared to be her due, escorting her to the 
Bavarian frontier three days later, and only 
taking leave of her after a magnificent luncheon 
at the chateau of Geppingen. Her arrival at 
Munich on December 5 found her in such a state 
of collapse that she was obliged to retire to 
bed as soon as she arrived. But, much as the 
combination of travelling and constant festivities 

Busy Days 433 

always fatigued her, there was little time for 
rest. It was perhaps therefore excusable, at 
Munich at least, that her letters to her husband 
were never written. We find him addressing 
her from Brunn on December 19 in this playfully 
reproachful strain : 

" Great Empress, not a letter fjrom you since 
your departure from Strasbourg. You have been 
to Baden, Stuttgart, Munich, without writing 
a word to us. That is not very amiable nor 
loving ! I am still at Brunn. The Russians 
have gone ; there is a truce. In a few days I 
shall see what I can do. Deign from the height 
of your splendour to pay a little attention to 
your slaves. 

" Napoleon." 

There was a great deal to be done by Josephine 
at Munich. While the electoral family was 
lavishing on her aU its attentions, Josephine in 
return was distributing a shower of presents 
in accordance with Napoleon's wishes. She 
expended over eighty thousand francs on 
diamonds, etc., to be given away in Munich. To 
the Electress she presented a cashmere shawl ; 
an act which must have cost Josephine a pang, 

VOL II. 7 

434 The Empress Josephine 

for it was the first she had ever had. She moved 
in a constant stream of gifts, generous and 

As might be imagined, there was policy 
underlying the conduct which Napoleon had 
enjoined on his wife. How much foreknow- 
ledge Josephine had of this policy may be 
gathered from a letter which she wrote to Hor- 
tense from Munich. There is no date, but her 
solitary stay at the Bavarian capital lasted from 
December 5 to December 31, and the letter 
appears to belong to the early part of the 

" Here I am at Munich, my dear Hortense," 
she wrote, " a little tired but in good health. 
I have received your letter and was very 
pleased with it ; but I am extremely surprised 
at the rumours of which you speak. Surely 
if there had been really a question of your 
brother's marriage, you are the first person 
whom I would have told. Of course I heard 
that the German papers spoke of it, while I was 
at Strasbourg. I remember that at that time 
everybody believed in this marriage. I found 
myself the only one not in the secret. You 
know very well, my dear, that the Emperor, who 

A Bride for Eugene 435 

has never^said a"_^word to me on the subject, 
would not marry Eugdrie without my being 
informed. However, I accept the public 
rumours, I should much like her as a daughter- 
in-law. She has a charming character and is as 
beautiful as an angel ; she combines a beautiful 
face and as beautiful a figure as I know. ..." 
The rumour of which Josephine spoke was 
to the effect that Eugene Beauharnais was to 
marry Augusta, daughter of the Elector of 
Bavaria. The Princess was already engaged 
to Prince Charles of Baden, who was brother of 
her father's second wife. But Napoleon did not 
intend to let this obstacle stand in the way of his 
wishes (which the rumour accurately represented), 
and he had already in mind the scheme which 
he soon put into execution with regard to 
Prince Charles of Baden. Why Josephine was 
kept in the dark and allowed to gather from 
popular gossip the match proposed for her son, 
we do not know. She was assigned, however, 
an important part in bringing the Elector's 
family over to favour the scheme and played 
it well, if unconsciously. When the Emperor 
came to Munich his wife fell back into a humble 
place ; but in her twenty-six days without 

43 6 The Empress Josephine 

him she paved the way for the success of his 

Peace between France and Austria was signed 
at Presburg on December 26. The treaty in- 
cluded provisions very advantageous to Bavaria, 
Wiirtemberg, and Baden, the first two elector- 
ates being turned into kingdoms. In return 
for his favour, Napoleon required of the recipi- 
ents their consent to three marriages — those of 
Augusta of Bavaria to Eugene Beauharnais, 
of Charles of Baden to Stephanie Beauharnais, 
and of Catherine of Wiirtemberg to Jerome 
Bonaparte, who was now to receive his reward 
for abandoning Ehzabeth Patterson. 

It was after midnight of the last day of 
1805 and by the light of torches that Napoleon 
entered Munich and rejoined the wife whom 
he had quitted three months ago. He lost no 
time before bringing about the first of his 
international weddings. In spite of the efforts 
of Josephine, the way was not yet quite clear. 
The Elector Maxmilian Joseph, now King of 
Bavaria, was wilUng that his daughter should 
become Eugene's wife. But the Electress Caro- 
line was not won over, even by Josephine's 
cashmere shawl. The former Baden Princess 

The Munich Wedding 437 

was attached to her brother and much wished 
him to marry her step-daughter. She was not 
dazzled by the prospect of the Beauharnais 
alHances. Moreover, she had not forgiven Napo- 
leon for the execution of the Due d'Enghien, 
captured after a scandalous violation of the 
territory of Baden. Napoleon laid siege to 
her now with such amiable persistency that he 
excited Josephine's jealousy. Caroline was only 
thirty years of age and was reputed a charming 
woman. But Napoleon had no intention be- 
yond gaining her consent to Augusta's marriage 
with Eugene, and in this he succeeded, a,lthough 
he considered it advisable to stop in Munich 
himself until the wedding should take place 
under his own eyes. On January 4 he wrote 
summoning Eugene to him. The young Viceroy 
arrived six days later, and was the innocent 
cause of a curious scene. As soon as he reached 
Munich he was seized upon by his step-father. 
It was morning, and Josephine was not yet out 
of bed. When, however, she learnt that her 
son was in the Palace and had not come to see 
her first of all, she gave way to a fit of weeping, 
which was only stayed when Napoleon came 
into her room leading Eugene by the hand. 

43 S The Empress Josephine 

Coming toward the bed, the Emperor gave 
the young man a push forward and said : 
" Here's your big lout of a son. I am bringing 
him to you." Josephine threw her arms around 
Eugene and clasped him to her breast. 

On January 14 Eugene married Augusta in 
the presence of his step-father, Josephine, and 
the Bavarian Royal family. Eugene now 
dropped his name of Beauharnais for a more 
glorious one. For the first clause of the marri- 
age treaty ran as follows : " His Majesty the 
Emperor of the French and King of Italy shall 
treat His Imperial Highness the Prince Eugene 
as son of France." And at the civil ceremony 
the name of the bridegroom appeared as 
" Eugene-NapoMon de France." ^ 

So it was with her position seemingly still 
further strengthened that Josephine returned to 
Paris with the Emperor in January 1806. 
So firmly attached to her was Napoleon, it 

' Writing to the Senate two days before the marriage, 
Napoleon says : " We have determined to adopt as our son 
the Prince Eugdne, Grand Chancellor of state in our Empire 
and Viceroy of our Kingdom of Italy : we have called him, 
after ourselves and our natural and legitimate children, to 
the throne of Italy ... it being understood that in no -case 
or circumstance can our adoption authorise either him or his 
descendants to make any pretensions to the throne of France." 

The Conqueror's Return 439 

appeared, that not only had he thought it 
necessary to have her crowned and consecrated 
with him, but he also had made her son his heir 
in Italy and was preparing to adopt her niece 
and make a princely marriage for her as if she 
were in reality his daughter. He was treating 
the Beauharnais exactly as though they were 
Bonapartes. What greater sign could he give 
of his attachment to the wife who had borne 
him no children ? 

After speeding Eugene and Augusta on their 
way to Italy, Napoleon and Josephine left 
Munich for Paris by way of Stuttgart and 
Carlsruhe. Late on the night of January 26 
they were back in the Tuileries. According to 
the usual custom they showed themselves as 
soon as possible at the Opera. In honour of 
the campaign of Austerlitz a gala performance 
was given, concluding with a patriotic spectacle 
of the return of the victorious army, a ballet 
of the nations, in which the peasantry of France 
appeared in their local costumes, and a cantata 
specially written for the occasion by Esmenard 
and the composer Stobelt. The arrival of 
Emperor and Empress in the Opera House was 
the signal for an extraordinary scene, every 

440 The Empress Josephine 

one in the audience standing up, cheering, and 
waving laurel-branches which had been dis- 
tributed in advance. The laurels might be a 
pre-arranged effect ; but about the general 
spontaneity and the unanimity of the welcome 
there could be no doubt. The Republic was 
truly at an end, and already its very calendar 
had gone when frimaire of the Year XIV. had 
ceased abruptly on New Year's Day of 1806. 

The marriage of Stephanie Beauharnais, 
which followed so soon after that of her cousin 
Eugene, was a proof of the ascendancy of the 
Emperor Napoleon in Germany as well as of 
his affection for his wife. Stephanie, who was 
not quite seventeen, was the grand-daughter 
of the well-known Countess Fanny, and had 
gone to Mme. Campan's school like her elder 
cousins, Hortense and Emilie. She had a 
certain resemblance to Hortense, with her fair 
hair, blue eyes, and good figure, and her com- 
bination of grace and gaiety. But her father 
was only a French senator of no particular 
distinction or position. Prince Charles of 
Baden, on the other hand, was of a very old 
noble family of Germany and had sisters married 
to the rulers of Russia, Sweden, and Bavaria. 

Stephanie Beauharnais 441 

The match might have seemed an extremely 
unequal one but for the power of Napoleon 
to make princes and princesses with the stroke 
of a wand. He was taken with Stephanie (to 
the edification of his slanderers, who declared 
that Josephine was jealous and had cause to be 
so), and determined to act the fairy godfather 
to her. The opposition of Prince Charles's 
mother and sister Caroline to the match were 
unavaihng. Charles himself consented to receive 
Stephanie in the place of the Princess Augusta, 
who had been torn away from him ; and his 
grandfather of Baden could not afford to 
displease his great patron Napoleon. The 
necessary transformation of the bride was 
accomplished with remarkable speed. On the 
Emperor's return to Paris Stephanie came to 
reside at the Tuileries, although her father was 
still alive in Paris. On February 17 the mar- 
riage contract was signed with Baden. On 
March 2 Prince Charles arrived in Paris. On 
the 4th the adoption of the girl as the Em- 
peror's daughter, with the name of Stephanie 
Napoleon, was made public. On April 8 the 
wedding took place in the Tuileries chapel. 
Cardinal Caprara conducting the service, Na- 

442 The Empress Josephine 

poleon giving away the bride, and Josephine, 
with a headdress of pearls which cost a milhon 
francs, having a throne beside her husband 
facing the altar. The scene was the most 
brilliant which had yet been witnessed at any 
event in the Bonaparte and Beauharnais fami- 
lies, with the single exception of the Coronation 
at Notre-Dame. A few days later Charles and 
Stephanie left for Baden, to the great satisfaction 
of Josephine, said the gossips.^ 

One of Josephine's satisfactions in returning 
to Paris after the German visit had been her 
reunion with Hortense, whose companionship, 
in spite of what some of the memoir-writers 
say, was always a pleasure to her. But she 
was not suffered to enjoy this satisfaction long ; 
for the Emperor had determined to turn Holland 
into a kingdom and to put his brother Louis 
at its head. Louis showed no anxiety to go 
to reign at The Hague ; the reason was not that 
he did not think himself capable of reigning, 

' The Duchesse d'Abrantds, who says that she had met few- 
women who seemed so pleasing to her as Stephanie at this 
period, is by no means so kind to Prince Charles. He had the 
sulky air of a chUd put in the corner, she declares, and was a 
very disagreeable prince and above all a disagreeable bride- 

King Log 443 

but that he feared that the Dutch dimate 
would not suit the health which caused him 
so much trouble, real or imaginary. Napoleon, 
however, would hear of no objections. " Better 
die on a throne than live as a mere French 
prince," he told Louis, and proclaimed him 
King on June 5. He seems to have had mis- 
givings about his brother's capacity ; or per- 
haps he wished to spur him into proving it. 
The story is told that on the day after the 
announcement he was sitting in the company 
of Hortense and her elder child, now three 
years and a half old. He made Napoleon- 
Charles repeat to him La Fontaine's version 
of the Frogs and their King Log, and at the 
end he laughed heartily, and, pinching her ear 
in his well-known way, asked : " What do you 
think of that, Hortense ? " 

Whatever Hortense thought of the applica- 
bility of the fable, she was no more delighted 
than her husband at the idea of going to Holland. 
To her it meant exile from the gaieties of Paris 
and from the society of her mother ; and exile, 
too, in the company of a most uncongenial 
husband, who took no pains to conceal his 
mistrust and suspicion of her. Yet resistance 

444 The Empress Josephine 

was impossible, and in the middle of the month 
the new King and Queen, with their two chil- 
dren, set out for the Dutch capital. Josephine 
was most loth to see them go. A month later 
we find her writing from Saint-Cloud to her 
daughter : 

" Since your departure I have been con- 
stantly ill, melancholy, and unhappy. I have 
even been obliged to stay in bed, having had 
some attacks of fever. The sickness has quite 
gone, but the grief remains. How could I not 
suffer from it, being separated from a daughter 
like you, loving, sweet, and amiable, the joy of 
my life ? . . . How is your husband ? And are 
my grand-children well ? Good heavens, how 
melancholy I am at not seeing them sometimes ! 
And your health, my dear Hortense, is it good ? 
If ever you are ill, let me know ; I will come 
at once to the side of my beloved daughter." 

The remainder of this letter of July 15, which 
is longer than most of Josephine's preserved 
in the collection edited by Hortense, is less 
gloomy in tone. The Empress gives various 
items of family news, including the announce- 
ment of her cousin Stephanie Tascher's engage- 
ment to the Prince d'Arenberg — another in- 

Another Wedding 445 

stance of the way in which the family of Jose- 
phine benefited by her marriage to the man 
with " the sword and the cloak," although it 
is true that the Arenberg wedding, which 
took place in January 1808, ended unhappily. 
Stephanie had struggled against the marriage 
and after it refused to live at Brussels with her 
husband, against whom she took a great aver- 
sion. The Emperor threatened to send her 
back to him with gendarmes. " As you like, 
sire," she replied. " At least when they see 
me arrive like that they will know I came 
against my will." The argument convinced 
Napoleon, who made her an allowance to live 
upon without her husband. 



AFTER the departure of Hortense to The 
Hague, Josephine divided her summer 
between Saint-Cloud and Maknaison, the latter 
place at least solacing her to some extent for 
her loss, since there were always her garden, her 
flowers, and her pets. Her next surviving 
letter to Hortense is written in a much more 
cheerful strain than that quoted at the end of 
the preceding chapter. 

" I am very happy myself, especially at the 
present moment," she writes, "for I am to go 
with the Emperor and I am making my pre- 
parations for the journey. I assure you that 
this war, if it must take place, causes me no 
fear ; the more I am near the Emperor, the less 
fear I shall have, and I feel that I should not 
live if I stayed here. Another reason for my 
joy is at seeing you again at Mayence. The 
Emperor bids me tell you that he has just given 


A Clinging Wife 447 

an army of eighty thousand men. to the King of 
Holland, and that his command will extend 
quite close to Mayence. He thinks that you 
may come to stop with me at Mayence. Guess 
whether that is good news, my dear Hortense, 
for a mother who loves you so fondly. Every 
day we shall get news from the Emperor and 
your husband : we shall rejoice over it to- 
gether. ..." 

This letter is undated, but it was evidently 
written in September 1806. Napoleon was 
planning his campaign against Prussia and 
Russia. If he promised at first to take Jose- 
phine with him into Germany, he appears to 
have changed his mind. On September 24 he 
announced to her that he was quitting Paris 
at once and leaving her behind. She besought 
him not to desert her, but received a refusal. 
So persistent, however, were her prayers that 
at length he gave way and the same night 
they started, Josephine having no time to take 
more than a single waiting-woman with her, 
and leaving orders for part of her Household to 
follow her to Mayence. 

As before the short war against Austria, 
Josephine's reluctance to allow the Emperor 

44 8 The Empress Josephine 

to quit her and to remain behind in Paris 
without him was painfully apparent. If 
jealousy was the chief cause of her conduct, 
she was justified in her fears ; for it was in this 
campaign that Napoleon was destined to meet 
the only woman who proved a serious rival 
in his affections to the wife who had so great 
a hold over him. 

The journey to Mayence was made with great 
speed, the only stop being for a few hours at 
Metz, and Mayence being reached on September 
28. Four days were all the time which the 
Emperor could allow for his halt there. At 
the last moment the parting proved unwontedly 
distressing to both. Napoleon pressed the weep- 
ing Josephine to his breast and spoke of his 
pain at their separation. Josephine's grief grew 
more and more violent and had such an effect 
upon her husband that he too wept, and then 
broke down completely, having to take some 
of his favourite orange-flower water before he 
felt sufficiently well to get into his carriage 
and proceed on his way. 

Left in the palace at Mayence, Josephine 
was soon joined by those of her Household 
who had been commanded to share her stay 

Forbidden Tears 449 

there. Hortense also came to her with her 
children from Holland, but does not seem to 
have cured her mother of her grief. In a letter 
written on October 5 Napoleon says to her : 
" There is no objection to the Princess of Baden 
going to Mayence. I do not know why you 
weep. You do wrong in making yourself ill. 
Hortense is rather pedantic ; she loves to give 
advice. She has written to me, I am answering 
her. She must be gay and happy. Courage 
and gaiety — that is the prescription." 

The Princess of Baden is, of course, the former 
Stephanie Beauharnais, who now came to 
Mayence. In spite of the presence of both 
daughter and niece, Josephine's tears did not 
stop, for on November i Napoleon wrote again : 
" Talleyrand has arrived and tells me that you 
do nothing but weep. What do you want ? 
You have your daughter, your grand-children, 
and good news. These are plenty of reasons 
for being content and happy" 

Strange to tell, although her letters as usual 
do not survive, Josephine appears at this period 
to have written more to Napoleon than he 
wrote to her. His note of October 23, from 
Wittenberg, begins : "I have received several 

VOL. II 8 

45° The Empress Josephine 

letters from you. I am only sending you a line. 
None of his communications to her during her 
stay at Mayence deserve to be called more than 
" a line " ; and the passionless, though not 
unaffectionate, conciseness which marks nearly 
all is more noticeable than in those of the 
campaign of 1805. 

It is upon -the letters of Napoleon to his wife 
that we have chiefly to rely for knowledge as 
to how Josephine fared at this time. Out- 
wardly her circumstances were very good. She 
was in the midst of her best-loved family circle. 
She was in constant receipt of excellent tidings 
from the seat of war. German princes and 
princesses, from Frankfort, Nassau, Saxe-Gotha, 
Saxe-Weimar, and Hesse-Darmstadt, were in 
constant attendance upon her. At Mayence a 
continual series of receptions, dinners, operas, 
concerts, etc., occupied her time, and as at 
Strasbourg and Munich in the previous year, 
she was able to distribute all around her jewellery 
and other presents broadcast. But plainly she 
was rapidly bored and wished for nothing but 
permission to join the Emperor. In his letter 
of November* 16 he says : "I am grieved to 
think that you grow weary at Mayence. If the 

Napoleon's Letters 45 ^ 

journey were not so long you could come here, 
for the enemy no longer exists or he is beyond 
the Vistula." Six days later he wrote : " I 
shall make up my mind in a few days to summon 
you here or to send you to Paris." In another 
four days he seemed on the point of granting 
her request. " I will see in a couple of days if 
you may come," he wrote from Ciistrin. " You 
may hold yourself in readiness." On the 
morrow he spoke of fetching her to meet him 
in Berlin. So on to December 20 he continued 
to talk about sending for her in a few days' 
time. But after this there came a change, 
and the alternative of her return to Paris, 
mentioned vaguely in his letters of November 22 
and December 15, became more precisely for- 
mulated in those of January 3, 7, 8, 11, 18 and 
23. In the last, written in Warsaw, his 
intention was unmistakable. " It is impossible 
for me to let women take a journey like this. . . . 
Return to Paris, be gay and content there ; 
perhaps I too shall be there soon." 

In addition to her own weariness, the dis- 
content of her Household at the long stay in 
May ence sorely troubled Josephine. la 
Rochefoucauld, her Lady of Honour, in parti- 

452 The Empress Josephine 

cular, was in open revolt and spoke rebelliously 
against her mistress. Josephine's complaints 
to Napoleon brought back from him the advice 
to pack the busybodies home. But such worries 
were small in comparison with another, which 
it is possible to divine from Napoleon's letters. 
It is clear that Josephine by some means 
gathered that she had more serious cause 
than hitherto for the suspicions which she 
nourished with regard to her husband's faith- 
fulness to herself. Her suspicions actually 
preceded the event, it would appear, for 
Napoleon's first meeting with his beautiful 
Pole is assigned to January i, 1807, whereas 
Josephine's complaints must have begun a 
month earlier. He made many efforts to 
reassure her. From Posen on December 2 he 
wrote : " All these Polish women are true 
Frenchwomen ; but there is only one woman 
for me. . . . These nights are long, all alone." 
On December 3 he rallied her on her jealousy, 
adding : " You are wrong ; nothing is farther 
from my thoughts, and in the deserts of Poland 
one dreams little of the belles." His note from 
Pultusk on December 31 begins : "I laughed 
much when I got your last letters. You are 

The Belles of Poland 453 

imagining ideas about the belles of Great 
Poland which they do not deserve." In the 
letter of January 23, 1807, already partly quoted 
above, he said : "I laughed at what you told 
me about marrying a husband in order to be 
with him. I thought, in my ignorance, that 
the wife was made for the husband, the husband 
for country, family, and glory. Excuse my 
ignorance. One is always learning something 
from the ladies. Good-bye, mon amie. Believe 
me that it costs me much not to send for you. 
Say to yourself : ' It is a proof how precious 
I am to him.' " 

Soon after this letter from Warsaw was 
written Josephine had yielded to the Emperor's 
commands and had left Mayence for Paris. 
Stopping for one night at Strasbourg, where 
she was warmly welcomed, she reached the 
Tuileries on the last day of January. Paris 
was badly in need of a reviving influence, for 
the combination of the war and the absence of 
the Court had produced there a state of stag- 
nation which might easily lead to discontent. 
The Empress's return brought about an im- 
provement ; but she herself found it difficult 
to follow Napoleon's advice to "be gay and 

454 The Empress Josephine 

content " there. According to Mme. de 
Remusat, certain Polish ladies, lately come to 
Paris, had brought with them news of the 
Emperor's passion for their beautiful young 
compatriot Countess Marie Walewska, to whom 
Napoleon after two brief meetings in public, 
had written : "I saw only you, I admired only 
you, I desire only you." His letter of course 
remained private, but the way in which he had 
gained his desire was but too weU known. 

Suspicion had turned to certainty, and it 
was in vain that Napoleon paid unremitting 
attention to his correspondence with Josephine. 
Brief notes continued to reach her from him 
at Eylau, Liebstadt, and Osterode, assuring 
her of his constant love for her. From the 
last place he wrote on March 15 a letter con- 
cluding with the words : " Put no belief in all 
the evil reports which may be circulated. 
Never doubt my feelings, and be without the 
slightest anxiety." It is impossible to resist 
the conviction that Josephine had mentioned 
something of what she had heard through the 
Polish ladies spoken of by Mme. de Remusat. 
It appears also that she had again urged him 
to let her come to him in Poland. For in a 

Suspicions Justified 455 

letter of March 27 he says : " You must not 
think of travelling this summer. It is im- 
possible. You could not rove about inns and 
camps. I want, as much as you, to see you 
and to live quietly." 

Napoleon, however, was not " roving about 
inns and camps." Early in April he was, as 
he let her know, at the " very beautiful chateau " 
of Finkenstein, where he had established his 
headquarters. He did not tell Josephine that 
Mme. Walewska also spent three weeks there, 
although he sent several notes to her during 
this period. On May 10 he wrote at greater 
length, beginning : 

" I have your letter. I do not understand 
what you say to me about ladies in correspond- 
ence with me. I only love my little Josephine, 
kind, pouting, and capricious, who knows how 
to quarrel, as she does everything else, grace- 
fully ; for she is always amiable, except of 
course when she is jealous ; then she becomes 
a very devil. But to return to these ladies. 
If I were to notice any of them, I should like 
them to be rosebuds, and none of them fulfil 
that condition." 

It is certain that no such cajoleries on the 

45^ The Empress Josephine 

part of Napoleon had any effect upon his now 
legitimately jealous wife. But an event came 
to drive from her head for a while even her 
fear and indignation about her Polish rival. 
She had been passing the spring between Paris 
and Malmaison, her interest in the work in 
progress at the latter place proving beneficial 
to her health.^ On May 6 she had gone to 
Saint-Cloud, when suddenly the news arrived 
from Holland that her eldest grandson was 
dead. Napoleon-Charles had succumbed to an 
attack of croup at The Hague on the night of 
May 4-5. Josephine obtained the permission 
of the Council of State to leave Paris and set 
out on the loth for the north, a temporary 
collapse preventing an earlier start. On the 
night of the 14th, as soon as she had arrived 
at the palace of Laeken, near Brussels, she 
wrote to her daughter as follows : 

" I have just reached the chateau of Laeken, 
my dear daughter. It is from there that I am 
writing, it is there that I am waiting for you. 
Come and restore me to life ; your company 
is necessary to me, and you ought also to 
want to see me and to weep with your mother. 

' See her letter to Hortense, March 29, 1807, 

From an engraving by Hall, after a drawing by Stewart. 

p. 456. 

Death of Hortcnse's Son 457 

I should indeed have Hked to come further ; 
but my strength has failed me, and besides, I 
have not had time to let the Emperor know. 
I have got back heart enough to come as far 
as this ; I hope that you will have sufficient 
to come and see your mother. Good-bye, my 
dear daughter. I am overcome with fatigue 
but still more by sorrow. 

" Josephine." 

On the following day Hortense reached 
Laeken, accompanied by Louis and her re- 
maining child. Her grief was intense. M. de 
Remusat, who had accompanied Josephine 
from Paris, wrote to his wife a touching account 
of it. " The Queen," he said, " has but one 
thought, that of the loss which has befallen 
her. She speaks only of Mm. Not a tear, 
only a cold calm, an almost total silence, except 
when she breaks it to wring the hearts of those 
who listen to her. If she sees any one whom 
she has seen before with her child, she looks 
at him with an expression of kindly interest 
and says in a hushed voice : ' You know he is 
dead.' When she came to her mother, she 
said to her : ' It is not long since he was here 

458 The Empress Josephine 

with me ; I sat there with him on my knees.' . . . 
She heard it strike ten, and turned to one of 
her ladies. ' You know,' she said, ' it was at 
ten o'clock he died.' " 

The blow was very severe for all. Not only 
Josephine, Hortense, and Louis were over- 
whelmed with grief, but Napoleon also. In 
spite of the forcedly reasonable tone of his 
letter of May 15, written when the news 
reached him, it is easy to see that he was 
deeply affected. 

" I can imagine," he wrote, " all the pain 
which poor Napoleon's death must cause you : 
you can understand the sorrow which I feel. I 
wish I were by you to see that you were moderate 
and sensible in your grief. You have had the 
happiness never to lose a child ; but it is one 
of the conditions and sorrows inseparable from 
human wretchedness. Let me hear that you 
have been reasonable and that you are keeping 
weU. Would you add to my sorrow ? " 

A fortnight later he wrote to Josephine again 
from Marienbad : " All the letters from Saint- 
Cloud tell me that you are constantly weeping. 
This is not right. You must keep well and be 
content." The advice was rather futile to a 

A Changed Situation 459 

loving grandmother, more especially to one so 
easily moved to tears as Josephine ; but, of 
course, it was the only advice which Napoleon 
could give in the circumstances. He hid his 
own grief effectively,^ but he had in hand the 
preparations for hurling the Grand Army across 
the Vistula, and domestic sorrows must 5aeld 
to affairs of war. The death of the nephew of 
whom he had always made such a favourite in 
reality left a permanent void in his heart, and 
there can be no doubt that it had a considerable 
effect on his conduct in respect to Josephine. 
He had long been willing to adopt Napoleon- 
Charles as his own son, in which case he might 
have dispensed with a son of his own. But no 

1 The story told by Talleyrand, however, and reported by 
Mme. de Remusat (" Memoires," i. i86), of the Emperor's 
callous speech when the news of the child's death arrived, is 
almost grotesquely improbable ; and, besides, Tallejrrand's 
stories are generally under suspicion. Josephine appears to 
have had no doubt that Napoleon was sincerely grieved, in 
spite of the orders which he sent both to her and to Hortense 
to be sensible and even gay (!) ; foir she wrote to Hortense : 
" The Emperor has been deeply affected. In all his letters he 
tries to inspire me with courage ; but I know that he suffers 
much at this unhappy event " (letter from Saint-Cloud, 
June 4). M. Masson points out that Napoleon wrote to all his 
correspondents about his nephew's death, twenty times to 
Josephine, five or six times to Hortense, and also to Joseph, 
Jerome, Fouche, and Monge. 

460 The Empress Josephine 

other child took the dead one's place, and the 
necessity for an heir brought forward once more 
the question of divorcing Josephine and marry- 
ing a younger woman. Thus it was that, 
although she can hardly have suspected it at 
the time, Josephine lost more than a beloved 
grandchild through the fatal effect of the 
Dutch climate on the little boy who died at 
The Hague. 

After a few mournful days at Laeken, Jose- 
phine returned to Paris with Hortense and 
Napoleon-Louis, while the King of Holland went 
back to his capital. Most of the remainder of 
May was spent quietly at Malmaison. At the 
end of the month Hortense went, by doctor's 
advice, to take the waters at Cauterets in the 
Pyrenees, while Josephine moved to Saint- 
Cloud. Napoleon-Louis was temporarily sent 
back to Laeken to await his father. But Jose- 
phine was desirous of having her grandson with 
her at Saint-Cloud and obtained Louis's consent. 
On June 4 she wrote to her daughter at Cau- 
terets : " The King reached Saint-Leu yesterday 
night. He has informed me that he is coming 
to see me to-day. He will leave me the little 
one in his absence. You know how I love the 

A Loving Grandmother 461 

child and what care I will take of him." ^ Seven 
days later, after the child's arrival, she writes : 
" Your son is wonderfully well. He amuses 
me very much. He is so sweet ; I find he has 
all the ways of the poor child whom we mourn." 
In another letter^ although she begins with 
melancholy reflections on the child who had 
gone — " We have lost what was most worthy of 
being loved ; my tears flow as on the first day " 
— she concludes with the assurance : " Your 
son is wonderfully well, he is charming." Jose- 
phine seemed to give an equal love to all Hor- 
tense's boys, Napoleon-Charles, Napoleon-Louis, 
and later Louis-Napoleon, the future Emperor. 
Whatever Nature did not make her, it did at 
least make her a most affectionate grandmother, 

1 Josephine continues : " I want the King to follow you. 
It will be a consolation, dear Hortense, for both of you to meet 
again. All the letters which I have received from him since 
your departure have been full of his affection for you. Your 
heart is too tender not to be touched by it." Louis and Hortense 
were indeed temporarily reconciled after the death of their 
first-born ; but unhappily the improved state of affairs did 
not last long. 



WHILE Josephine was at Saint-Cloud en- 
joying the company of her surviving 
grandson, Napoleon was completing his cam- 
paign against the Russians and forcing on the 
Tsar Alexander the Treaty of Tilsit. In July 
he was preparing to return to France. On the 
1 8th he wrote to Josephine from Dresden in a 
strain which almost recalls the letters from 
Italy. " I am more than half way on the road 
to you," he says. "It is possible that one of 
these fine nights I shall fall upon Saint-Cloud 
like a jealous man, I warn you. Good-bye, 
mon amie, I shall have great pleasure in seeing 
you." At six o'clock in the morning of July 27 
he reached Saint-Cloud, having been absent 
nearly a year from the city, which now received 
him with the most extravagant expressions of 
admiration and devotion. The silence of as- 
tonishment, declared the Prefect of the Seine, 


Napoleon a Father 463 

was the only suitable way of manifesting the 
country's feelings ; but neither he nor any one 
else restricted himself to silence when there was 
an opportunity to speak. 

In the opinion of her carefully watching con- 
temporaries, the Empress was not one of those 
to whom the Emperor's return brought unmixed 
pleasure. Unwilling as she had been to part 
with him, she found a considerable alteration 
in their relations when he returned.^ The two 
principal causes for this were the death of his 
possible heir by adoption and the love affair 
which had made him unfaithful to her in Poland. 
Gossip also said that the birth of a son to a young 
lady who had been reader to his sister Caroline 
had at last convinced him that it was solely 
Josephine's fault that he had no legitimate heir. 
Gossip was right. The child Leon, who had 
been born on December 13, 1806, to Mile. 
Eleonore Denuelle, had the Emperor for father. 
He had met the handsome young girl, a former 

• Prince Metternich, the Austrian Ambassador at Paris, in 
a despatch quoted later in this chapter says : " The Emperor, 
since his return from the army, preserved toward his wife a 
cold and often embarrassed manner. He no longer lived in the 
same rooms with her, and to a great extent his daily conduct 
took a different turn from what it had always had." 

4^4 The Empress Josephine 

pupil of Mme. Campan, at Caroline Murat's, 
had taken a fancy to her, and the rest had been 
easy. Josephine, however, as proofs of Napo- 
leon's broken faith accumulated, seemed to 
become less able to tax him openly with mis- 
conduct. She complained freely to others, and 
did not hesitate, in her jealousy, to mention to 
her ladies (and even, it was said, her attend- 
ants) all the stories reaching her ears which 
malice had circulated about her husband. A 
certain dread, however, restrained her from 
making as many " scenes " before him as she 
had formerly made. He seemed to have grown 
too great a figure, perhaps. It was noticed that 
she gradually ceased to speak of him merely 
as " Bonaparte," as of old. The conqueror of 
Austria, Prussia, and Russia could not be called 
by a simple surname. He was becoming " Sire " 
to her as well as to the Court and the nation. 
Not at once, but by degrees certainly, the idea 
of divorce, which had almost faded away since 
the days of the First Consulate, began to grow 
definite after Napoleon's return to France in 
1807. Conspiracies were on foot, in which 
prominent parts were taken by Caroline and her 
husband Murat, as well as by Fouch6, who was 

A Hard Request 465 

no more a friend to Josephine than his own 
interests made it expedient, to persuade the 
Emperor of the necessity of taking another wife. 
Napoleon could not altogether refuse to recognise 
the possibility of having to yield to reasons of 
State. According to Mme. de Remusat, he 
went so far as to broach the subject to Josephine. 
The memoirist professes to report a conversa- 
tion which, if it ever took place, she must have 
learnt from her mistress. Napoleon was talk- 
ing to Josephine one day about the death of 
Napoleon-Charles and of the lack of an heir to 
the French throne. He went on to speak of 
what might be forced upon him thereby, and 
appealed to her to come to his assistance, if her 
divorce and his marriage to another should be 
inevitable: Speaking with emotion he said : 
" If such a thing came to pass, Josephine, it 
would be your duty to help me to such a sacri- 
fice. I should count upon your friendship to 
preserve me from the odium of this forced 
separation. You would take the first step, 
wouldn't you ? And, putting yourself in my 
place, you would have the courage to decide 
yourself upon your retirement ? " 

Whether Napoleon really expected Josephine 
VOL. II 9 

466 The Empress Josephine 

to answer that she woTild do as he wished, we 
do not know. He should have appreciated the 
desperate tenacity with which she was cUnging 
to him, for he had abundant examples of it in 
the past two years. Josephine, on her part, 
had no intention of assisting in her own down- 
fall, " Sire," she replied, with a calm which 
must have contrasted strangely with her usual 
tears, " you are the master and you will decide 
upon my fate. When you order me to leave 
the Tuileries I shall obey at once ; but you 
certainly must order it positively. I am your 
wife ; I have been crowned by you in the pre- 
sence of the Pope ; the worth of such honours 
is such that one cannot give them up of one's 
free will. If you divorce me, all France must 
know that it is you who drive me away, and she 
shall not be unaware either of my obedience or 
of my profound sorrow." 

The most ardent French admirers of Napoleon 
have attacked Josepihine's attitude as petty and 
really devoid of the dignity which she wished 
it to have in his eyes ; and they blame her for 
forcing him to take a step which revolted his 
heart — to divorce her without her consent. 
Seeing, however, that to them, for the most 

Josephine-s Attitude 467 

part, she appears in the light of a worthless 
woman, whose influence over their hero is to be 
deplored, it is not a little surprising that they 
should expect her now to have shown a self- 
sacrifice and strength of character which would 
hardly be demanded of the ordinary good wife. 
Josephine, at the age of forty-four, was asked 
to give up the husband with whom she had 
lived for eleven years and the throne which she 
had shared with him for three in order to see 
another woman take her place in the home and 
on the throne, while she retired for ever into 
isolation and obscurity, however comfortable 
they might be made for her. She would hardly 
have been human had she not resisted Napo- 
leon's wish ; she surely would not have been the 
Josephine of old. 

The calm dignity which marked her interview 
with Napoleon deserted her when she left his 
presence and was able to talk to ready listeners 
about the fate with which she was threatened. 
Her tears flowed unceasingly, and her unhappy 
propensity to bring up whatever remained in 
her mind of all the scandal and inventions of 
enemies which reached the Court was given 
free play. Her ladies and waiting-women heard 

468 The Empress Josephine 

(not for the first time from her) outrageous 
accusations against the Emperor. Nor did she 
hesitate to accuse him of sinister designs against 
her life, if again we may believe Mme. de R^musat, 
her own friend. " I will never give way to 
him," she cried. " I shall certainly show myself 
his victim. But if I end by causing him too 
much annoyance, who knows of what he is 
capable, and whether he will resist the tempta- 
tion to put me out of the way ? " Too much 
attention, of course, must not be paid to these 
outbursts of a naturally unbalanced mind ; but 
they must detract considerably from our sym- 
pathy with the unfortunate woman. 

Josephine's words reached the Emperor's ears 
and made him less inclined to dismiss the idea 
of divorce which hitherto he had always put 
aside. The Memoirs of Lucien report a speech 
which he is supposed to have made to his brother 
in Italy in the winter of 1807 : " Josephine is 
decidedly old, and as she cannot now have any 
children she is very melancholy about it and 
tiresome. She fears divorce or even worse. 
Just imagine, the woman cries every time she 
has indigestion, because she says she believes 
she has been poisoned by those who want me 

Jerome's Wedding 469 

to marry some one else. It is detestable." 
The exact words may be doubtful, but the tenor 
of the speech has the appearance of probability. 
Napoleon at least would have been justified by 
facts in making it. 

All this, however, did not take place immedi- 
ately after Napoleon's return from Tilsit. No 
outward change occurred in Josephine's posi- 
tion. At the wedding of Jerome Bonaparte 
and Catherine of Wiirtemberg in August, she 
had even a new honour, since she was given an 
armchair as a right, while Madame Mere was 
allowed one only as a favour, and the Queen of 
Naples (Julie, wife of Joseph, sent to Naples 
in the spring) had none at all . J erome' s marriage 
to the Princess Sophia-Dorothea-Frederika- 
Catherine, like his elevation to the throne of the 
new kingdom of Westphalia, was one of the 
results of the Treaty of Tilsit. The religious 
marriage took place on the evening of August 23 
in the Gallery of Diana at the Tuileries, the 
scene being remarkably gorgeous. Those pre- 
sent included besides the Emperor, his wife and 
his mother, the Queen of Naples, the Grand 
Duchess of Berg (Caroline Murat), the Princess 
Stephanie of Baden and her husband. Prince 

470 The Empress Josephine 

and Princess Borghese, the Prince of Nassau, 
and the Prince-Primate of Germany, who 
united the young King and Queen. The number 
of distinguished strangers present was very 
large, and all are said to have been struck by 
the hitherto unexampled display of jewellery. 
The picture of the wedding in the Versailles 
Museum is well known, representing Jerome 
and his wife approaching the throne of the 
Emperor and Empress. He saluted both pre- 
viously to making his reverence to Madame 
Mere to ask her consent to the marriage. 

During the service a heavy thunderstorm 
took place, ruining the illuminations prepared 
in the Tuileries gardens. It is recorded that 
Josephine said that if Catherine were a believer 
in omens she might expect an unhappy fate. 
But little attention was paid to such super- 
stitions while the festivities in honour of the 
new King and Queen occupied the attention of 
all. It had been arranged that Jerome and 
Catherine should not leave for Westphalia until 
November and should spend the intervening 
time with Napoleon and Josephine. Early in 
September the Imperial party, including in all 
forty-four persons, went for ten days to Ram- 

A Dull House-party 471 

bouillet, which was Uttle more than a hunting- 
box, as has been said, and sadly lacked accom- 
modation for so many guests. Since we read 
that the weather was wet and all had colds, 
it is not surprising that visit was not en- 
joyed by any one except the Emperor. From 
Rambouillet a move was rnade to Fontaine- 
bleau, where Hortense, who had come to Paris 
from Cauterets at the end of August, joined the 
party, now swelled to vast proportions by 
arrivals from Paris and from the German 
principalities. The stay at Fontainebleau lasted 
until the middle of November and was marked 
by more display and ceremony than had yet 
been seen at the French Court. Napoleon was 
desirous of making his Court the most brilliant 
in Europe ; but his endeavours did not succeed 
in keeping away dulness, for he is reported to 
have remarked now : " It is curious. I gathered 
together at Fontainebleau a great number of 
people, I wanted them to be amused, I arranged 
all their entertainments — and every one has a 
weary and melancholy air ! " 

Among those who showed their melancholy 
must have been Josephine, for she had ample 
reasons, apart from the fact that Napoleon had 

472 The Empress Josephine 

betrayed distinct signs of at least a passing 
fancy for Mme. Gazzani, a beautiful Genoese 
whom she had made her reader on the recom- 
mendation of Talleyrand. In the first place 
news had reached France of the death in June 
of her mother. Mme. Tascher de la Pagerie 
had lived on at Trois-Ilets to the age of seventy, 
always steadfastly refusing to come to France. 
It was thus seventeen years since she and 
Josephine had last met. It is not known why 
she never visited her daughter, but there is 
nothing to indicate any estrangement between 
them. No public mourning was ordered, which 
was rather strange, seeing that the deceased 
was the Empress's mother. 

In the second place, the return of Hortense 
to Paris had revealed that the reconciliation 
between her and Louis had been very brief, 
although it had resulted in the anticipation of 
a third child. When she and Louis reached 
Paris from the Pyrenees, quarrels began at once. 
Louis wished her to come with him to Holland. 
She refused, alleging that the climate was 
dangerous to her health and to that of Napoleon- 
Louis, whom she feared to see going the way 
of his elder brother. Louis's jealousy was also 

Fouch^'s Intervention 473 

said to have been aroused over some stories 
which he heard of her conduct at Cauterets 
before his arrival. No terms could be arranged, 
and Louis went off to The Hague, while Hor- 
tense, ill and despondent,^ remained with her 
mother, to whom her companionship at this 
time can but have been an incentive to sorrow 
and tears. 

Thirdly, at Fontainebleau Fouche approached 
Josephine directly on the subject of a 
divorce. This must have been subsequent to 
the conversation, if it took place as said by 
Mme. de Remusat, between Napoleon and 
Josephine as to what would be her attitude 
should a divorce become necessary ; for on 
leaving Fontainebleau Napoleon proceeded 
straight to Italy and remained there over the 
end of the year. When the Minister of Police 
came to Josephine, rumours of a possible di- 
vorce had already turned into common dis- 
cussions of the question when Emperor and 

1 In her diaxy Hortense wrote : " From this time onward 
I knew that my ills would be without remedy ; I looked on 
my life as entirely ruined ; I felt a honor for grandeurs and 
the throne ; I often cursed what so many people called my 
future ; I felt myself a stranger to all the enjoyments of life, 
stripped of all its illusions, almost dead to all that passed 
about us." 

474 The Empress Josephine 

Empress were not present. A description of 
Fouche's interview with Josephine is given in 
a despatch from Prince Metternich, who was a 
guest at Fontainebleau, to the Austrian Govern- 

"After a short preamble," writes the am- 
bassador, " he told her that, since the public 
weal, and above all the consolidation of the 
existing dj^asty, demanded that the Emperor 
should have children, she ought to petition the 
Senate to join her in urging on her spouse a 
demand for the most painful sacrifice which 
his heart could make. The Empress, prepared 
for the subject, asked Fouche with the greatest 
coolness if the step which he had just taken had 
been at the Emperor's bidding. ' No,' replied 
he, ' I am speaking to Your Majesty as the 
Minister charged with the supervision of affairs 
in general, as a private individual, as a subject 
to whom his country's glory is dear.* ' I am 
not therefore accountable to you,' interrupted 
the Empress. 'I look on my union with the 
Emperor as recorded in the book of destiny. 
I will have no explanations except with him and 
shall never do except what he may order.' 

" Several days passed before there was a 

Various Accounts 475 

question of anything between the Imperial 
couple, when suddenly the Emperor began again 
to share his wife's room and seized a propitious 
moment to ask her the reason of the sadness 
which he had observed in her for some time.^ 
The Empress then told him of her conversation 
with Fouche. The Emperor bore witness that 
he had never entrusted his Minister with such 
a mission. He added that she ought to know 
him well enough to be sure that he needed no 
intermediary between himself and her. He 
made her promise that she would tell him of all 
she might hear of the sequel of this affair." 

Josephine had refused to believe Fouche's 
statement that he had acted on his own respon- 
sibility. " Is it not evident," she asked Laval- 
ette, husband of her niece Emilie, " that Fouche 
was sent by the Emperor and that my fate is 
decided ? Alas, to leave the throne is little 

' Napoleon's own version of the explanation makes Mme. 
de Remusat come to him from Josephine just as he was going 
to bed, at one o'clock. "My curiosity was piqued," he says. 
" I received her. It was indeed a curious matter, for I learnt 
that it concerned a repudiation of me by m.y wife. I went 
immediately to Josephine and disabused her mind, giving her 
an assurance that, if reasons of State should ever determine 
me to break our bonds, it was from me that she should receive 
the first intelligence." 

47 6 The Empress Josephine 

enough to me ! But to lose at the same time 
the man to whom I have devoted my fondest 
affections — such a sacrifice is beyond my 
strength." Nor did Napoleon's denial of an 
order to Fouche persuade her. She was not 
long in receiving from the Minister a letter in 
which he put on paper the arguments to which 
she had refused to listen a few days before. On 
the advice of M. de Remusat, to whom she 
showed the letter, she took it to Napoleon and 
read it to him. The Emperor, in indignation 
real or simulated, offered to deprive Fouche 
of his office, and actually wrote to him on Nov- 
ember 5, telling him to " cease meddling, 
directly or indirectly, with an affair which could 
be no concern of his at all." For Josephine 
he was full of caresses and protestations of his 
ignorance of Fouche' s action ; but she was not 
to be convinced, even though the rumours of 
divorce temporarily ceased, after the Police 
Minister had recognised that he must proceed 
more cautiously, unless he were prepared to 
lose his post a second time. 

The party at Fontainebleau broke up without 
anything definite having occurred with regard 
to the question of divorce. Napoleon started 

An Alleged Flirtation 477 

on November 16 for Italy, in connection with 
his design to close the Mediterranean against 
the English fleet. He refused to take Josephine 
with him in spite of her prayers that he should 
allow her to accompany him and to see Eugene 
with his wife and little daughter, named after 
her Josephine. He had, however, good reason 
for not taking her. His first letter from Italy, 
dated Milan, November 25, 1807, began : "I 
have been here, mon amie, for two days. I am 
very glad not to have brought you ; you would 
have suffered horribly in the crossing of the 
Mount Cenis, where a tempest delayed me 
twenty-four hours." 

Josephine had been accompanied back to 
Paris by Jerome and his bride, who had intended 
to leave at once for Westphalia by way of 
Wiirtemberg. Delayed by the slight illness of 
Catherine they remained until nearly the end 
of November before setting out for Stuttgart. 
Their departure did not leave Josephine without 
plenty of society. Some of the German princes 
who had been at Fontainebleau still lingered on, 
among them the brother of the Queen of Prussia, 
the Prince of Mecklenburg, with whom the 
Empress was accused by Court gossip of having 

47^ The Empress Josephine 

a late flirtation. The affair was harmless 
enough, apparently, for Napoleon had taken no 
notice of it until he thought it advisable to 
silence the malicious tongues at Court by warn- 
ing Josephine not to encourage the Prince's 
attentions to her. Information, however, fol- 
lowed Napoleon to Italy, probably from Fouche, 
that the Prince was continuing his pursuit and 
that the Empress had been unwise enough to 
include him in a party which she took incognito 
to one of the smaller theatres of Paris at which 
Napoleon objected to her presence.^ Conse- 
quently he wrote to reprimand her rather 
severely on her indiscretion. It was not because 
he did not wish her to be gay, for he wrote on 

• He had already written to her from Osterode on March 17, 
1807 : " You must not go to small boxes at small theatres. 
It does not become your rank. You must only go to the four 
principal theatres and always to the principal box. Live as 
you used to when I was in Paris." With regard to Josephine's 
affair with this young Prince it may be noted that Mme. 
de Remusat (" Memoires," iii. 257) claims that Josephine said 
to her in 18 10, when the Austrian marriage was on foot, that 
if she too wished to marry again the Emperor would not look 
on the idea with an unfavourable eye. " He proposed to me 
himself, at the time of the divorce, that I should take as husband 
the Priilce of Mecklenburg-Schwerin — you remember that 
handsome young man who paid me such attentions at 
Fontainebleau, and then in Paris at the Tuileries. The 
Emperor was jealous about him. The Prince has since written 
to him, I believe, to ask for my hand." 

Letters from NapoleOii 479 

November 30 from Venice : "It pleases me to 

hear that you are amusing yourself in Paris.'* 

But he wished her to preserve her dignity. The 

suggestion that he was not sorry to be able to 

find something to reproach her with seems 

unnecessary. It was Napoleon's wont to keep 

as strict an eye as possible, during his absence, 

on the doings of all his family. Nor is it likely 

that, if he were looking round for pretexts for a 

divorce, he would have written to Fouche, as 

he did from Venice, complaining that he was 

again discussing the question in spite of the 

orders which he had received. " I can only 

repeat to you that your duty is to follow my 

opinion and not to proceed according to your 

whim." He further wrote on December 6 to 

Maret, sapng : " I observe with pain, from your 

reports, that people still continue to discuss 

subjects which must distress the Empress and 

are unseemly from all points of view." 



THE Emperor had told his wife, when setting 
out for Italy, that he would come back 
to Paris early in December, but it was January i 
when he actually returned. Josephine, how- 
ever, had the satisfaction of hearing that Na- 
poleon had confirmed her son Eugene as heir 
presumptive to the Italian crown and had given 
him a new title of the Prince of Venice, while 
her granddaughter Josephine was Princess of 
Bologna. Divorce seemed no nearer and no 
farther than when they parted in the middle of 
the previous November. In the midst of the 
gaieties — and the opening months of 1808 were 
very gay — Talleyrand, Fouche, and others were 
constantly urging the Emperor toward the 
point when he must part with Josephine. Still 
he remained undecided, and unable to disguise 
his indecision. One evening, early in March, 


Napoleon's Vacillation 4 8 1 

to the despair of his advisers, he seemed to turn 
back to Josephine with a fresh access of tender- 
ness. He had dined with her as usual, and 
there was to be a reception afterwards. He 
was not feeling well, and when the Empress 
came to him he caught her in his arms, crush- 
ing her dress, sobbing and crying : " My poor 
Josephine ! No, I can never leave you." As 
he grew worse, Josephine made him promise to 
go to bed instead of appearing at the reception, 
which he agreed to do if she would come to him 
afterwards. They passed a very agitated night. 
Napoleon continually repeating that " they " 
were surrounding him, tormenting him, and 
making him unhappy. It was not until morn- 
ing that he had recovered his equanimity. As 
the Diplomatic Body and other distinguished 
foreigners were at the reception, the Emperor's 
absence excited much comment, and no doubt 
" they " of whom Napoleon muttered knew 
all about the scene next morning. " What a 
devil of a man ! " Talleyrand is reported to 
have said in his anger. ^ " He gives way con- 
stantly to his first impulse and doesn't know 
what he wants to do. Let him make up his 

1 Mme. de Remusat, " M6moires," iii. 312. 
VOL. II 10 

4^2 The Empress Josephine 

mind, and not leave us to be the mere sport of 
his words, not knowing really on what footing 
we are with him ! " 

Another journey from Paris came opportunely 
to distract Napoleon's thoughts awhile from 
the subject of divorce. He was preparing to 
make a new throne for his brother Joseph in 
Spain, while Naples was to go to Murat. The 
quarrels in the Spanish Royal family furnished 
a pretext, Ferdinand, Prince of the Asturias, 
having fallen out with his father, mother, and 
their favourite Godoy. Napoleon sent Murat 
with an army to Madrid and summoned Charles 
IV. (who had already abdicated) to meet him 
at Bayonne — the scene of "the turning-point 
in Napoleon's career," as a recent critic has 
called it. Josephine was left to follow him 
from Paris at a few days' interval, but was to 
break her journey at Bordeaux. Here she 
stayed a month, making herself affable to all 
and distributing presents with a generous hand 
— but of course at the Emperor's command and 
at his expense. It was at Bordeaux that news 
reached her of the birth of Hortense's third son, 
the child who was destined afterwards to be 
known as the Emperor Napoleon III. Her 

Birth of LouiS'Napoleon 4^3 

letter to Hortense, written on April 23, 1808, 
begins in a jubilant tone. 

"I am at the summit of joy, my dear Hor- 
tense," she writes. " The news of your success- 
ful delivery was brought me yesterday by M. 
de Villeneuve. I could feel my heart beat as 
he entered. But I was in hopes that he had 
only a happy event to announce, and my pre- 
sentiment was not wrong. I have just received 
a second letter from the Grand Chancellor, who 
assures me that you are doing well, and the 
child also. I know that Napoleon is consoled 
at not having a sister and that he already loves 
his brother very much. Kiss them both for 

Two days later Josephine wrote again from 
Bordeaux, saying that the Emperor had ordered 
her to join him at Bayonne. " You can ima- 
gine," she said, " that it is a great happiness 
for me not to be away from the Emperor ; so 
I am off to-morrow very early." Napoleon 
awaited her at Marrac, a chateau outside Bay- 
onne, where with great difficulty were bestowed 
not only the French Court, but also Charles of 
Spain and his Queen, Ferdinand, Godoy, and 
their followers. With the lack of accommoda- 

4^4 The Empress Josephine 

tion and the quarrels of the Spanish family, the 
visit to Marrac must have been very uncom- 
fortable. But Josephine had the satisfaction 
of finding Napoleon in a most loving mood 
toward her. He spent all his leisure time with 
her and exhibited all his usual signs of good- 
humour ; as when one day out on the beach, 
undeterred by the presence of the escort, he 
chased her over the sands and pushed her into 
the water, or when, another day, he picked up 
her shoes, which dropped off her feet as she 
got into her carriage, and flung them away, in 
great amusement at the idea that she would 
have to go home without any. 

When he had, as he thought, settled the affairs 
of Spain by forcibly buying out the weak- 
kneed Bourbons and establishing a constitu- 
tional monarchy, of which Joseph Bonaparte 
was to be the head. Napoleon started home- 
ward again in the company of Josephine. It 
was intended that they should travel together 
to Toulouse, whence the Emperor was to go 
to Bordeaux and Josephine to the waters of 
Bareges. Scarcely had they separated at 
Toulouse, however, when an urgent message 
followed Josephine from the Emperor, ordering 

Political Affairs 485 

her to join him again at Bordeaux. News had 
reached him of the revolt of Spain against King 
Joseph which culminated in the surrounding of 
Dupont in the Sierra Morena, the capitulation 
of an army of twenty thousand men, and the 
flight of Joseph from Madrid. Napoleon saw 
the necessity of a personal advance into the 
Peninsula. In order to do this he must secure 
himself on the eastern frontier, which necessi- 
tated a return to Paris. Josephine must forgo 
her usual course of waters and accompany him 
back to the Tuileries. 

Although she was thus brought back to Paris, 
it was not intended that Josephine should 
play any part in the schemes of her husband. 
She was not taken to see the " parterre of 
kings " which witnessed the meeting of the 
Emperor and the Tsar at Erfurt at the end 
of September. Her presence at Erfurt was 
not desired, seeing that Napoleon not only 
purchased there Alexander's consent to his 
subjugation of Spain, but also, according to 
Talleyrand, broached the subject of a marriage 
with one of Alexander's sisters. " This life of 
agitation wearies me," he told the Tsar. " I 
need rest and look forward to nothing so much 

486 The Empress Josephine 

as the moment when I can without anxiety 
seek the joys of domestic lifCj which appeals 
to all my tastes. But this happiness is not 
for me. What domesticity is there without 
children ? And can I have any ? My wife is 
ten years older than I am. I must ask your 
pardon. It is perhaps ridiculous of me to tell 
you all this, but I am yielding to the impulse of 
my heart which finds pleasure in opening itself 
out to you." On the night of the same day, 
Napoleon spoke to Talleyrand at considerable 
length on the subject of the divorce, which was 
necessary for the peace of France. " The 
dynasty must be founded by me," he said. 
" I can only found one by allying myself to a 
princess belonging to one of the great ruling 
families of Europe." Talleyrand was therefore 
to speak to the Russian Foreign Minister on 
the subject of a match between Napoleon and 
one of the Tsar's sisters. " Arguments will 
not fail you," added the Emperor, " for I know 
that you are an advocate of this divorce, and 
I warn you that the Empress Josephine thinks 
you are, too."' 

It would not have been at all convenient 

' Talleyrand, " M^moires," i. 447-8. 

Erfurt 487 

had Josephine been at Erfurt and had, by 
any chance, rumours of Napoleon's two speeches 
reported by Talleyrand come to her ears. 
Scenes would have been inevitable ; but her 
absence made matters easier. Nor was she 
suffered to see much of her husband on his 
return from Erfurt. He stopped but a few 
days in Paris and left again at the beginning 
of November for Spain. Josephine clung in 
vain to him as he went, and was with difficulty 
prevented from getting into the carriage which 
bore him south. There was, however, no 
repetition of her success in September 1806, 
when she accompanied him to Mayence. On 
this occasion he was firm, and no tears could 
move him. After Erfurt his indecision may be 
said to have vanished, in spite of his quite 
genuine sorrow when the time came for putting 
his determination into action. Josephine must 
be replaced by some one else. His advisers and 
circumstances combined to drive him to this 
view. Such a student of French history as 
Napoleon could not lack a precedent, when 
once his mind was made up. In the Third 
Dynasty alone he had the cases of Louis VH., 
Philippe II., Louis XII., and Henri IV., who 

488 The Empress Josephine 

had all repudiated their wives on the ground 
of barrenness. It only remained to find the 
discarded one's successor. There was the Grand 
Duchess Catherine of Russia, sister of an 
Emperor. Dared her brother refuse her to 
his ally ? For the present Napoleon could not 
wait for an answer to this question, since he 
had other matters to look after. He put the 
affair in the treacherous hands of Talleyrand 
and started for the west. 

Napoleon reached Spain in the first week 
in November and remained there over the 
New Year, when he was called back by a 
threat on his eastern frontier against which 
he had not guarded. Writing to Josephine on 
January g, 1809, in answer to her letter of 
December 31, he said : " I see, mon amie, 
that you are melancholy and that your anxiety 
is very black. Austria will not make war 
against me. If she does, I have 150,000 men 
in Germany and as many on the Rhine, and 
400,000 Germans to meet her. Russia wiU not 
separate from me. They are mad in Paris. 
All is going well." The majority of his letters 
on the Spanish campaign are very curt ; but 
Ihis one concludes in an affectionate strain : 

Conspiracies on Foot 489 

" I shall be back in Paris as soon as I think it 
expedient. I warn you to beware of appari- 
tions. One fine day, at two in the morning. . , . 
But good-bye, my dear. I am well, and am 
always yours. — Napoleon." 

In spite of his confident tone. Napoleon 
very soon found it expedient to be back in 
Paris to meet Austria's challenge. Matters 
were going anything but well in the capital. 
There were rumours of a plot to provide for 
the event of his death by putting forward as 
his successor Murat, now King of Naples after 
Joseph's promotion to Spain. Fouche was in 
the conspiracy, and, of course, the ambitious 
Caroline, who was a warm supporter, if not 
the instigator of her husband's pretensions. 
The same plotters were Josephine's chief 
enemies, however friendly in the past, for 
different reasons, both Murat and Fouche had 
been to her. She was perfectly aware of their 
sentiments. " You have no notion of the 
intrigues being woven against me," she said 
to Girardin, who returned from Spain soon 
after the Emperor, and proceeded to tell him 
how her foes had concocted a story that it 
was intended to pass off as hers a child of 

49° The Empress Josephine 

the Emperor by another woman. ^ Napoleon's 
irritation at the intrigues no doubt made him 
more sympathetic vvdth his wife. But in any 
case he had no more time to devote to the 
question of divorce now than he had when he 
set out for Spain. On April g the Austrians 
violated the territory of his ally Bavaria, and 
four days later he started for the Rhine. 

Once more the Empress accompanied him 
to Strasbourg, as in 1805. There he took leave 
of her, bidding her make a stay of some length. 
Probably this was again in answer to her 
request, since the atmosphere of Paris in his 
absence was more than ever distasteful to her 
now. This second Strasbourg visit was un- 
eventful. Only one interesting letter from 
Josephine to her daughter belongs to this period. 
Hortense had gone in May to take the waters 
at Baden, bringing with her both her sons. 
She had omitted to ask the Emperor's consent 

1 Girardin, " Journal," ii. 320. It may be noted that the 
Russian Ambassador at Paris had in the March of the previous 
year communicated to St. Petersburg a tale that Napoleon had 
threatened Josephine to make her adopt his illegitimate sons 
(one by Mme. Walewska, the other by Mile. Denuelle), and 
that she had at once consented. There is no corroboration of 
Count Tolstoy's tale. 

Hortcnse and the Emperor 491 

before leaving France, and he wrote to her, 
reprimanding her and ordering her to send the 
children to the Empress at once. " This is 
the first time that I have had occasion to be 
angry with you," he wrote, " but you should 
never dispose of my nephews without my per- 
mission ; you must know the bad effect which 
this produces." This letter, signed " Your 
affectionate father Napoleon," he addressed to 
her, care of Josephine. The latter writes to 
her daughter as follows : 

"I send you, dear Hor tense, a letter from 
the Emperor to you. I was so troubled at not 
getting anything from him that I opened this. 
I see with pain that he is upset at your visit 
to Baden. I urge you to write to him at once 
that you had anticipated his wish and that 
your children are with me, that you only had 
them with you a few days, to see them and 
give them a change of air. . . ." 

It must not be supposed Josephine is here 
recommending her daughter to deceive the 
Emperor, for she says at the end of the letter : 
" Your children have arrived in good health." 
The document is only quoted as another 
example of the intense anxiety of Josephine 

492 The Empress Josephine 

to avoid any possible offence to the Emperor 
from her own family. 

In early June Josephine went to Plombieres, 
her favourite waters, to judge by the number 
of visits which she paid to them. Here she 
was joined by Hortense, and both together 
received news from Napoleon of his successes 
at Ebersdorf and Wagram, and of the armistice 
of Znaim. It is worthy of note that the 
language of Napoleon's notes of this period, 
brief though they still are, is more tender than 
for some years. "Good-bye, mon amie," he 
writes on June 19, " you know my feelings 
for Josephine ; they are unchangeable." Two 
letters written from Schonbrunh in August and 
one in September, after Josephine had gone 
from Plombieres to Malmaison, are still more 
remarkable. " I have heard," he writes on 
August 26, " that you are fat, fresh, and 
looking very well. I assure you that Vienna 
is not an amusing town. I should much like 
to be back already in Paris." On the 31st 
he says : "I have received no letters from 
you for several days. The pleasures of Mal- 
maison, the beautiful hothouses, the fine gardens 
cause the absent to be forgotten. That is the 

Marriage Schemes 493 

way with you all, they say." Finally on 
September 25 : "I have received your letter. 
Don't be too sure. I warn you to look after 
yourself well at nights. For one night very 
soon you will hear a great noise." 

Now although Napoleon had not yet formed 
any plan to ally himself with an Austrian 
Archduchess, he had, on the other hand, 
definitely attempted to get the Tsar's consent to 
give him his sister, the Grand Duchess Catherine. 
Relying on some vague remarks of Alexander at 
Erfurt, he had commissioned Talleyrand and 
Caulaincourt to put the matter through for him. 
But he had not reckoned with Talleyrand's 
disloyalty nor the hate of the Russian Empress 
Dowager, to whom Napoleon was " the san- 
guinary tyrant who governs Europe with his 
sceptre of iron." To save her daughter from 
him she was ready to marry Catherine even to 
Prince George of Oldenburg, whose ugly spotted 
face, mean figure, and stammering speech 
were not even counterbalanced by a fortune or 
indeed anything but his mere title. In the 
Empress Marie, Napoleon met more than his 
match. There was no repetition of his victory 
over the Queen of Bavaria. The Oldenburg 

494 The Empress Josephine 

marriage removed Catherine from his grasp 
and, the Grand Duchess Anne being too young, 
the Russian matrimonial aUiance scheme faded 
away. For the present, however, the Emperor 
was unprepared for this defeat. HebeUeved in 
the power of his influence over Alexander and 
in the possibility of winning his sister's hand. 
He had, therefore, no doubt in his mind with 
regard to what he must do with Josephine. 
Must his letters be read as tokens of his uneasy 
conscience toward her ? The story of his return 
to France after the peace with Austria shows 
how ill at ease he was. He wrote from Munich 
on October 21 that he was on the point of 
starting and that he would be at Fontainebleau 
on the 26th or 27th ; she might meet him with 
some of her ladies. He travelled with great 
speed, arrived at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 
26th, and found no one waiting to receive him 
except the Grand Marshal, Duroc. He sent 
off a message to Saint-Cloud, where the Empress 
was,, and then proceeded to look over some 
rearrangements of the rooms at Fontainebleau 
which he had ordered by letter while still in 
Austria. One of these was, significantly, the 
building of a wall which cut off direct com- 

A Significant Wall 495 

munication between his apartments and the 
Empress's. After inspecting the alterations 
Napoleon walked about nervously, continually 
pulUng out his watch and exhibiting signs of 
bad temper. Still Josephine did not come. 
But in her stead arrived the Grand Chancellor 
Cambaceres and the Minister of Police, both 
of whom began to talk to him about the Imperial 
succession and the public anxiety at the want 
of an heir. " There is not a single marshal," 
said Fouche, " who is not considering how to 
dispose of your estate if we have the misfortune 
to lose you. It is a case of Alexander's lieu- 
tenants eager for their kingdoms." Such a 
view coincided only too closely with Napoleon's 
own. He dismissed his Ministers and resumed 
his impatient wait for the absent Empress. 

About 5 o'clock the sound of a carriage 
brought him to the door ; but it was only a 
messenger to say that the Empress was following. 
Napoleon hastened up to his library and began 
to write. At six a second carriage arrived. 
This time he contented himself with ringing 
to ask who had come. The Empress, he was 
told. " Very well ! " he said, and went on with 
his work. Josephine, having inquired when the 

49^ The Empress Josephine 

Emperor had reached Fontainebleau, hastened 
up the stairs and entered the room. Napoleon 
looked up and, saying, " Ah, here you are, 
madame ! That is good, for I was about to 
start for Saint-Cloud," pretended to resume 
his writing. Still standing near the door, the 
Empress, as might be expected, began to weep. 
This was the argument which her husband could 
not resist. He rose and took her in his arms. 
ReconciHation soon followed ; Napoleon apolo- 
gised for his severity — and perhaps Josephine 
for her delay, which was at least unintentional. 
Dinner was served late at Fontainebleau that 
night. Josephine was resplendent in a new 
dress and a wreath of blue flowers, and Napoleon 
contented himself with pointing out that her 
toilet had taken an hour and a half. Two more 
Ministers had just arrived, and Josephine 
avoided the embarrassment of a tete-d-tete meal 
by reminding the Emperor that they could not 
yet have dined. For the remainder of the 
evening he showed himself in a most amiable 

Josephine, however, was not to be deceived 
by temporary amiability. There was an air of 
constraint during the whole fortnight's sojourn 

Scene for a Tragedy 497 

at Fontainebleau. The built-up wall was a 
symbol which she did not fail to appreciate. 
Bausset, the palace prefect, could give her no 
satisfactory account of its construction. " You 
may be sure that there is some mystery attached 
to it," she replied ; but the mystery was not one 
which she could not guess. The situation would 
have been plain to a woman of much less intelli- 
gence than she possessed. ! 

Paris was fuU of gossip about the divorce 
when the Court returned. Nor did Napoleon 
avoid the subject. Once more he approached 
Josephine in the hope of persuading her to 
take the initiative and ask him to sacrifice her 
for the good of the dynasty and of France, 
Once more she refused. It was not the throne 
which she cared about losing, she assured him 
through her sobs, but himself. According to 
Girardin, he only answered : "Do not try to 
move me. I still love you, but in politics it is 
a case of head, not heart. I wiU give you five 
millions a year and a principality with Rome 
as its capital." " Do you know," he added, 
" that this divorce wiU be an event in my life ? 
What a scene for a tragedy ! " 

So dramatists have thought since Napoleon's 


49 8 The Empress Josephine 

time. But Napoleon's remark was not a mere 
cynical appreciation of the situation. If there is 
anything certain about his actual sentiments, it 
is that his words " I stiU love you " were true. 
He had loved her with a love that at all periods 
exceeded her love for him, and that love still 
remained, though it no longer obscured his 
reason. It is not likely that history will ever 
forgive him for allowing reason to overcome his 
love to such an extent as to consent to put away 
the wife of fourteen years. Nevertheless, his 
action was a sacrifice of his affections to his duty 
toward the State. It is easy to condemn it as 
heartless or as actuated by ambition ; but there 
is nothing to be gained, except in economy 
of thought, by the use of these labels. But 
for the fantastic connection which was imagined 
between the " fortune " of Napoleon and his 
association with Josephine, we should probably 
have heard very much less in condemnation of 
his repudiation of his wife for reasons of State. 
As the certainty of a speedy divorce grew, 
Josephine cannot be said to have acted circum- 
spectly. Nothing, perhaps, could now have 
persuaded the Emperor to modify his plans ; 
but attention to his wishes might at least have 

Josephine's Imprudence 499 

delayed matters. Josephine, however, famed 
for her tact in many things, was in others 
singularly tactless. An incident which occurred 
between the return from Fontainebleau and the 
declaration of the divorce showed how Uttle 
she could control her folUes when everything 
showed that it was imperative to do so. It is 
related by the Duchesse d'Abrantes,^ and the 
account is therefore, it is hardly necessary to say, 
not unduly kind to Josephine. 

Napoleon had arranged a hunt near Fontaine- 
bleau, leaving Josephine at the Tuileries. Rain 
came on heavily and, sport being poor, he 
decided to give up and return to Paris. It was 
evening when he got back, and he entered the 
Palace unannounced. Going straight up to the 
Empress's apartments, he found her seated at a 
table, with a wardrobe-dealer on one side of her 
and on the other a young German, who had 
spread out before him a pack of cards, from 
which he was telling fortunes. Now he had 
given strict orders that no wardrobe-dealers or 
stray merchants of finery should be allowed 
within the Palace ; and the woman now present 
was one whom he had already had ejected. 

' " Histoire des Salons de Paris," iii. 390 &. 

500 The Empress Josephine 

Fortune-tellers were still more severely banned 
by him. This German, who had made a sensa- 
tion lately among the foolish ladies of Paris, had 
attracted his attention so much as to make him 
say to Josephine : " You have spoken to me 
of a certain Hermann. I forbid you to see him 
or bring him to the Palace. I have had in- 
quiries made about him, and he is a suspicious 
character." Napoleon might have guessed the 
result of this command. But the sight of the 
two forbidden visitors together moved him to 
violent anger. 

" How can you disobey my orders like this ? " 
he cried furiously. " How is it that you are in 
the company of such people ? " 

Totally unprepared for such a scene, Josephine 
was at her wits' end. The dealer fled for refuge 
to the window-curtains, while the fortune- 
teller paused to think of his best professional 
attitude. At last Josephine stammered : 

" It was Madame Letizia who Tecommended 

" And this man ? What is he doing in the 
Empress's room ? " 

" She brought him with her." 

Hermann now intervened, expressing his sur- 

Forbidden Visitors 501 

prise if his life or liberty should be in danger 
in the Palace of the Emperor of the French. 
Moreover, would it not be better for the Emperor 
to consult the Fates rather than defy them ? 

Napoleon could scarcely control his voice to 
demand : " Who are you ? And what are you 
doing in Paris ? " 

" You see what I am doing. As for what I 
am — how can I say ? Who among us knows 
who he is ? " 

With one outraged glance at the three, 
Napoleon rushed from the room, banging the 
door loudly behind him. Summoning Duroc, 
he ordered him to have both visitors turned out 
of the Palace at once. Early next morning he 
went to the house which Madame Mere occupied 
in Paris and asked to see her. With him he took 
Duroc . While Napoleon talked with his mother, 
the Grand Marshal imparted the news to Mme. 
Junot, who was then a lady in attendance on 
Madame Mere. According to the memoir- 
writer, he said to her : 

" There is a storm in the air. The question 
of divorce is more to the front than ever. The 
Empress, who has never understood her true 
position, lacks even the second sight which 

502 The Empress Josephine 

comes to the dying at their last hour. ... It is 
nearly all over,' ' he continued . ' ' The Emperor' s 
resolution has wavered during these last few 
days, but the Empress's stupidity has ruined 
everything. And further, since his return to 
Paris, he has received such a large number of 
complaints from tradespeople and shopkeepers 
to whom the Empress has not paid what she 
owes, that he is exasperated." 

Duroc went on to tell the lady-in-waiting the 
story of the previous night. Meanwhile the 
Emperor was discovering how Josephine had 
attempted to deceive him. Mme. Letizia had 
already received very early in the morning an 
urgent private message from her daughter-in- 
law, beseeching her, in case the Emperor should 
question her about a certain dealer in clothes, 
to say that she had recommended her to the 
Palace. The old lady was prepared to do this, 
to prevent a quarrel over what seemed a petty 
affair. But when Napoleon began to speak of 
the suspected German spy she broke down and 
betrayed Josephine's letter. The Emperor left 
after an hour's talk, very pale and with signs 
of tears about his eyes. As for Madame Mere, 
she took Mme. Junot into her confidence and 

Madame Mere 503 

said : "I hope that the Emperor will have the 
courage this time to take the step which not 
only France but all Europe awaits with anxiety. 
His divorce is a necessary act." 

The whole story might not be worth repeating 
— so common were Josephine's disobediences of 
this sort to her husband's orders — but for the 
fact that the incident about which it centres 
had apparently some considerable effect upon 
Napoleon's last waverings in the matter of the 
divorce. Josephine could hardly have made a 
more unfortunate mistake (in a trivial way) 
than by trying to involve Madame Mere in her 
deceit. She was not, however, deterred from 
appealing again to her mother-in-law, through 
the medium of their respective ladies, Mmes. 
de Remusat and Junot, to intervene on her 
behalf with Napoleon. She would make any 
promise which the Emperor might ask of her. 
Madame Mere promised to use her influence. 
But of course it was too late ; and it was not 
for a matter of bringing clothes-dealers and 
fortune-tellers into the Tuileries that Napoleon 
was putting away his wife. No promise of 
amendment of her ways could bring Josephine 
a child to inherit the throne of France. 

5^4 The Empress Josephine 

Little more than two weeks after the return 
from Fontainebleau to the Tuileries came the 
last great series of ceremonies at which Josephine 
was present as Empress. December 2 was the 
fifth anniversary of the Coronation at Notre- 
Dame. It was also the fourth anniversary of 
Austerlitz. There was gathered together in 
Paris in readiness to celebrate the day a crowd 
of kings, queens, princes, and princesses of 
the Imperial family and from the vassal States 
of Germany. Napoleon spared no pains to 
entertain his visitors with an unceasing series 
of fetes. Every one was to be " gay and 
content," to use his own favourite expression. 
Unfortunately neither he nor the Empress was 
able to maintain the effort. Thoughts of the 
now definitely arranged separation could not 
be chased away. The abundant reminiscences 
of the Duchesse d'Abrantes again put the scene 
before us as she describes the entertainment 
at the Tuileries on Thursday, November 30. 
All the week the Empress had been unusually 
silent. This night the dinner was most mourn- 
ful. Her eyes were red with weeping and her 
head was lowered in a vain attempt to conceal 
them. No one ate or said much. The Emperor 

Napoleon on Happiness 505 

led the way quickly out of the dining-room, 
the Empress and the others following him. 
When the coffee had been handed round in the 
salon, Josephine summoned up courage to speak 
and, beginning to weep again, asked him why 
he wished to leave her. " Are we not happy ? " 
" Happy ? " Napoleon answered. " Happy ? 
Why, the lowest clerk of one of my Ministers 
is happier than I ! Happy ? Are you mocking 
me ? To be happy one does not want to be 
tortured by your mad jealousy as I am. Every 
time I speak at a reception to a charming or 
pretty woman, I am sure to have most terrible 
storms in private. Happy ? Yes, I have been." 
Perhaps he would have remained so, he con- 
tinued, had not jealousy and anger come to 
drive away happiness and peace, until he 
listened to the voice of his people asking for a 
guarantee for their future and realised that he 
was sacrificing great interests to a vain ideal. 

"So all is over, then ? " asked Josephine. 

" I had to secure the happiness of my people, 
I repeat. Why did you force me yourself to 
see other interests before yours ? Believe me, 
I am suffering more than you perhaps, for it 
is my hand that is hurting you." 

So6 The Empress Josephine 

Then followed the remarkable scene described 
by the Palace prefect Bausset, which turns the 
whole tragedy of the situation into a comedy. 
Bausset was sitting in a chair outside the salon 
door, watching the dining-room being cleared 
by the servants. Suddenly through the door 
came the sound of sobs and piercing cries. 
Napoleon came to the door and told him to 
come in. The Empress was lying on the floor, 
crying out, " No, I can never survive it ! " and 
lamenting bitterly. " Are you strong enough," 
asked Napoleon, " to lift Josephine and to 
carry her up the inner staircase to her room 
to be attended to ? " Bausset, a large, stout 
man, stooped down and put one arm round 
the Empress's waist, another under her knees. 
Napoleon, holding a candle in his hand, went 
across to the door leading to the staircase and 
opened it. Josephine, apparently in a dead 
faint, lay without moving in Bausset's arms. 
When the staircase was reached, the prefect 
saw that it was too narrow for him to attempt 
to go up it with his burden in her present 
position. He must have assistance. Napoleon 
therefore called to the watchman who always 
sat at his study door, handed him the candle, 

A Diplomatic Faint 507 

and told him to go on ahead. Then he relieved 
Bausset of the Empress's legs, leaving him to 
pass his arms under her armpits and to go up 
the stairs backwards. Now Bausset's sword 
got between his legs and almost threw them 
all downstairs. Swinging it out of the way, 
he struck the Empress accidentally on the 
shoulder with the hUt. Suddenly he heard her 
voice whispering to him softly : " Take care, 
M. de Bausset, you are hurting me with your 
sword; and you are holding me too tight." 
She resumed her faint, while Bausset lifted her 
up higher and put his arms again around her 
waist, the Emperor still holding on to her 
legs. At length the top of the stairs was 
reached and Josephine was laid on her bed. A 
violent ring at the bell brought her waiting- 
women to her. Dr. Corvisart was summoned, 
and Hortense. As Napoleon left, he told 
Bausset the cause of the trouble. He was very 
much agitated, and added, in broken accents : 
" The interests of France and of my dynasty 
put a great strain upon my heart. This divorce 
has become an absolute duty for me. I am 
all the more upset by the scene which Josephine 
has made because for three days she must have 


508 The Empress Josephine 

known, through Hortense; the unhappy neces- 
sity which condemns me to separation from 
her. I pity her with all my soul. I thought 
she had more character, and I was not prepared 
for the outburst of her grief." 

There seems no reason to reject the words 
attributed to Napoleon by Bausset.^ If they 
are correctly reported, he can only have an- 
nounced his definite decision — that is to say, 
that he had fixed a date for publicly announcing 
the divorce — at the beginning of the week ; 
and he must also have made use of Hortense 
as an intermediary, not having the courage 
personally to tell his wife. Whether Hortense 
(to whom the idea of being freed from her 
husband would have been as welcome as it was 
terrible to Josephine) was able to persuade her 
mother that all hope of a reprieve was vain 
does not appear. But Josephine can scarcely 
have supposed that any chance remained now 
of a change of mind on the part of the Emperor. 
The revelation of Bausset casts the gravest 
doubt, not on the reality of her grief, however 
much she exaggerated it, but certainly on the 
possibility of her having been taken by surprise. 

» " Memoires," ii. 2-8. 

Hortense Appealed to 509 

After receiving from Corvisart an assurance 
that there was nothing seriously amiss with 
the Empress, Napoleon had an interview with 
Hortense, who declared that she and Eugene 
must retire with their mother, though she 
promised him never to forget how much she 
owed to him. Napoleon was aghast at the 
idea and could not restrain his tears. " What, 
desert me ? " he cried. " You, my children, to 
whom I have acted as a father ? No, no, you 
will not do that ! You will remain. Your 
children's lot demands this of you." At 
length his entreaties that she should stay to 
help him to console and calm her mother, his 
promises of what he would do for Josephine 
to make her life happy, prevailed. Before she 
left him to go to the Empress, Hortense had 
promised that at least' she would not fulfil her 
threat of leaving the Court. 



THE final scene in the married life of 
Napoleon and Josephine was about to 
begin. Amid the gaieties which, during the 
first ten days of December 1809, marked the 
anniversary of the Coronation, the preparations 
for the announcement and actual accomplish- 
ment of the divorce went on. Josephine 
was quite unable to disguise her grief from 
her guests, and Napoleon himself was on one 
occasion at least visibly affected in public by 
her air of utter wretchedness. This was at the 
entertainment given by the City of Paris on De- 
cember 3. The Empress arrived first, conducted 
to the Throne Room of the Hotel de Ville by 
the Prefect of the Seine. Her steps were feeble, 
her eyes swollen with tears, and her effort to 
restrain her feelings was quite obvious. The 
Emperor on his entry looked at her anxiously, 
and found it necessary to halt a few moments 


Last Days as Empress 511 

before he could master his emotion. With 
considerable difficulty they both forced them- 
selves to go through the task of making them- 
selves agreeable to those assembled to meet 

Josephine was spared any more such ordeals. 
Retiring to her own rooms in the Tuileries, she 
left to Madame Mere the duties of hostess for 
the few remaining days. It was given out that 
she was indisposed, but no one was ignorant 
of the real cause of her disappearance from 
view. All knew that the very hour of the 
divorce was approaching, and that what had 
been a matter of common talk for so long was 
at last to become fact. The Bonapartes as- 
sembled in Paris did not disguise their exulta- 
tion, and from their looks in particular Josephine 
was glad to escape. Her chief comfort was the 
expectation of Eugene's arrival. Her son's 
protection had never failed her yet. Perhaps 
she had some desperate hope that he might 
still intervene and prevent the separation from 
Napoleon. Eugene reached Paris on Decem- 
ber 5, having been met by Hortense on his way 
from Italy. He was therefore acquainted with 
the facts of the situation and prepared for his 

512 The Empress Josephine 

interview with the Emperor. He had long 
recognised that divorce must come, and had 
expressed his conviction to his mother as 
recently as a month ago, when, after hearing 
from her concerning her conversation with the 
Emperor after Fouche's interference at Fon- 
tainebleau, he had written : " If he [Napoleon] 
believes that his happiness and that of France 
require him to have children, let him have 
no other consideration. He must give you a 
sufficient dowry and let you live with your 
Italian children. The Emperor can then make 
the marriage which his policy and happiness 
may demand of him." 

Such being Eugene's views, he offered no 
objections to Napoleon's resolution now laid 
before him, but only insisted that he and his 
mother should retire permanently to Italy. As 
he had done with Hortense already, Napoleon 
protested against the idea of a retirement and 
insisted that Josephine's sacrifice must bring 
her honour, not banishment. She should still 
be Empress, though not reigning Empress, and 
must ever be his best-loved friend. Eugene 
finally asked to be present at an interview 
between his mother and Napoleon. His request 

Eugene and his Mother 513 

was granted. The presence of Eugene had an 
excellent effect upon Josephine. She was still 
weeping, but showed herself dignified and 
resigned. The welfare of France was too dear 
to her, she said, that she should refuse to yield 
to the demand made of her. All she asked 
was that her children should not be forgotten. 
" Make Eugene King of Italy," she begged. 
Eugene broke in with the indignant words : 
" Mother, let me be left out of the question. 
Your son does not want a crown which would 
be, so to speak, the price of your separation. 
If. Your Majesty bows to the Emperor's wishes, 
it is of you alone that he must think." Napoleon 
was touched. " That is Eugene's true heart," 
he said. " He does well to trust to my affec- 
tion." The scene was over. All had passed 
in far better manner than could have been 
expected ; but at the Court reception that 
evening Josephine made no appearance. She 
had not the strength to preserve in public the 
brave face which she had put on in the presence 
of her husband and her son. 

Only a few days more remained before 
Josephine's career as reigning Empress ended. 
On December 10 Napoleon received a deputa- 

VOL. II 12 

SH The Empress Josephine 

tion from the Legislative Body at the Tuileries 
and informed them that " he and his family 
were ready to sacrifice, for the sake of France, 
their dearest affections." Five days later the 
formal civil act of divorce took place. With 
regard to the ecclesiastical side, owing to the 
fact that the Emperor and Pope Pius VII. were 
no longer on good terms — Pius had excommuni- 
cated his former friend and was a prisoner at 
Savona — there was no question of the help of 
His Holiness. There was, however, the sub- 
servient Cardinal Fesch, Archbishop of Lyons, 
who had performed the secret religious marriage 
on the eve of the Coronation ; and there were 
the French clergy, who could be coerced, and 
were. The details of the civil act were arranged 
by the Archchancellor Cambaceres, under the 
direction of the Emperor himself. According 
to Thiers,^ whose informant was Cajnbaceres 
himself. Napoleon showed his determination to 
invest the act with ceremonies most affectionate 
and most honourable for Josephine. " He 
would have nothing which might look like a 
repudiation, and agreed to nothing but a simple 
dissolution of the conjugal bond, based on 

' " Consulat et Empire," xi. ^in^ 

The Family Council 515 

mutual consent, that consent itself being based 
on the Empire's interests. It was agreed that 
after a Family Council, at which the Arch- 
chancellor should receive the expression of the 
wishes of the husband and wife, the decree of 
the Senate, solemnly passed, should pronounce 
the dissolution of the civil bond, and that by the 
same resolution the fortune of Josephine should 
receive a magnificent guarantee." 

The Family Council which Napoleon required 
to witness the ceremony — not to triumph over 
Josephine's fall, but to honour the great act 
of renunciation which she shared, however 
much against her will, with him— was as com- 
plete as he could make it. Joseph was not 
present, being detained in Spain by his king- 
dom's affairs ; and he was on such terms with 
his brother at the moment that they hardly 
exchanged letters. His wife Julie, however, 
was in Paris. Lucien, of course, was still in 
disgrace. Elisa was expecting a child, so 
that she too was absent. But Madame Mere, 
Louis, Jerome and his wife, the Murats, Pauhne, 
and Caroline were all present, together with 
Eugene and his sister as representatives of 
the Beauharnais. 

5^6 The Empress Josephine 

On the night of December 15 the Arch- 
chancellor Cambaceres arrived at the Tuileries, 
accompanied by the Secretary of State for 
the Imperial Household, Regnauld de Saint- 
Jean d'Angely, and found the whole Palace 
illuminated as on a fete-day. Within was the 
whole Imperial family in full Court dress. At 
nine o'clock they were gathered in the Throne 
Room, and the door of the Emperor's room was 
opened to receive them. Josephine was dressed 
in a perfectly plain white robe with no jewellery, 
and though pale she was quite calm ; far 
less agitated, in fact, than either Eugene or 
Hortense. Round the room were arranged the 
seats appointed for the family, in due order 
of precedence. The Emperor, Empress, and 
Madame Mere had armchairs, the reigning 
kings and queens chairs, and the others stools. 
All took their places, and the Emperor, turning 
to the Archchancellor, began to speak. His 
speech had been written for him, but departing 
from the text he substituted his own language, 
and with emotion spoke of the cost to his heart 
of the sacrifice which he was making for the 
welfare of France. " Far from ever having 
had to complain," he added, with more tender- 

A Dignified Speech 517 

ness than truth, " I can, on the contrary, only 
rejoice over the affection and tenderness of 
my well-loved spouse. She has graced fifteen 
years of my life, and the memory of this will 
remain for ever stamped on my heart. She 
was crowned by my hand. I desire that she 
shall keep the rank and title of crowned Empress, 
but above all that she shall never doubt my 
feelings and that she shall have me always as 
her best and dearest friend." 

The Empress in her turn took up her speech. 
Wheth'er she had herself altered the words 
which had been prepared for her, cannot be 
said ; but the copy from which she read was in 
her own handwriting and on the paper which 
she was wont to use.^ "With the permission 
of our august and dear spouse," she began, " I 
declare that, since I haye no hope of bearing 
children who can satisfy the requirements of 
his policy and the interests of France, it is 
my pleasure to give him the greatest proof of 

» M, Masson, who notes this fact, says (" Josephine 
Repudiee," 80) : " In the declaration which had been prepared 
for her she too had modified the language. . . . The words 
which she spoke are apt and noble, and, if it was she who chose 
them, once more she gave proof of that tact which was one of 
her virtues and one of her charms." 

5i8 The Empress Josephine 

attachment and devotion which was ever given 
on earth." But she could read no further. 
Sobs choked her voice and she handed the 
paper to Regnauld, who finished the speech for 
her. " I owe all to his bounty," ran the words, 
" it was his hand which crowned me, and, 
seated on this throne, I have received nothing 
but proofs of affection and love from the French 
people. I am recognising all this, I believe, in 
consenting to the dissolution of a marriage 
which is now an obstacle to the welfare of 
France and deprives her of the good fortune 
of being ruled one day by the descendants of 
a great man plainly raised up by Providence 
to remove the ill-effects of a terrible Revolution 
and to set up again the altar, the throne, and 
the social order. But the dissolution of my 
marriage will make no change in the sentinaents 
of my heart. The Emperor will always have 
in me his best friend. I know how much this 
act, which is made necessary by his policy and 
by such great interests, has wounded his heart ; 
but we shall win glory, the two of us, for the 
sacrifice which we have made on behalf of our 

Not only Hortense and Eugene (who is said 

Divorce Accomplished 519 

to have fainted at the end of the ceremony), 
but even the assembled Bonapartes exhibited 
emotion at Josephine's surrender of her husband 
and her throne. None were sorry when the 
Council finished its sitting with the signature 
by each member of the report drawn up by 
Cambaceres and all were able to disperse to 
their lodgings. Josephine was accompanied 
from the room by her children, still calmer than 
they found it possible to be. But the day was 
not to finish without one more painful scene. 
The Emperor had retired to his own bedroom 
and was already in bed, when suddenly Jose- 
phine appeared at the door, silent but bearing 
the signs of the profoundest grief. She came 
slowly to the bedside, as if walking in her sleep, 
but having reached it she fell forward, and, 
throwing her arms about Napoleon, gave vent 
to bitter laments. The Emperor, by whom 
this apparition was quite unexpected, at- 
tempted in vain to comfort her, with assurances 
of his everlasting friendship and appeals to her 
reason and courage. But it was with the 
greatest difficulty that he restrained his own 
tears and had the strength to send her away 
to her own room at the end of an hour. It 

520 The Empress Josephine 

was her last night at the Tuileries. The " little 
Creole " was to sleep no more in the bed of 
her masters. 

Next day it was raining heavily when, at 
two o'clock, Josephine's carriages awaited her in 
the courtyard. All her personal belongings had 
been taken out from her rooms and placed in 
the vehicles. Her parrot and a family of dogs 
accompanied her boxes and such furniture as 
was to go with her. Only the mistress herself 
was wanted to give the train the signal to 
start. Josephine still remained in the dis- 
mantled rooms, sitting waiting for the Emperor 
to bid her farewell. His step was heard on 
the private stair ; and, as she rose from her 
seat, he entered, followed by Meneval, his 
secretary. Their last interview in the Palace 
must not be without a witness. Unrestrained, 
however, by the presence of a third party, the 
weeping woman threw herself upon Napoleon's 
breast and clung there. He kissed her several 
times and then, finding she had fainted, put 
her into the secretary's arms and hastened out 
of the room to hide his own emotion from any 
curious eyes. Josephine, left with M6neval, 
began to weep again violently and clasped 

Departure from the Tuilcries 521 

Meneval by the hands, beseeching him to tell 
the Emperor not to forget her and to write 
to her from Trianon, where he was to spend 
the ten days following her departure from the 
Tuileries. The distressed secretary promised 
all she asked, and at length Josephine forced 
herself to go. She walked out of the rooms 
which no longer were hers and into the court- 
yard, got into her carriage, and drove away 
to Malmaison, 



JOSEPHINE'S fortune was to have, by 
Napoleon's desire, " a magnificent guar- 
antee." The Senate's Decree coupled with the 
announcement of the divorce the settlement 
on her of two million francs annually from the 
State Treasury. On the same day Napoleon 
himself settled on her, from the Crown Treasury, 
another million. He further presented to her,, 
for the duration of her life, the Elysee Palace, 
with its furniture and grounds, and renounced 
any rights which he might have over Malmaison, 
which was to be entirely at the disposition of 
herself and her heirs. With regard to her debts, 
of whose continued existence he was well aware, 
although he did not know their extent since 
he had last attempted to get rid of them, he 
no longer proposed to pay them except out 
of her own income ; but he assisted her to clear 
them off by advancing the money. He insisted 


A Magnificent Income 523 

on a complete list and found they amounted 
to nearly one million nine hundred thousand 
francs/ while the total number of creditors was 
one hundred and twenty. Josephine marked 
on the list those who should be paid in full, 
and the remainder had their bills cut down 
as the Emperor decided. Five hundred thou- 
sand francs were knocked off the total, and the 
balance of one million four hundred thousand 
was paid, on the understanding that seven 
hundred thousand francs should be stopped 
out of the million coming to her from the Crown 
Treasury for each of the next two years. Jose- 
phine was therefore solvent again. In order 
that she should not lapse into debt the Emperor 
included in the duties of his own financial 
superintendent the supervision of the Empress's 
budget. The result of this carefully devised 
scheme will be seen later. 

Josephine retired from her position of reigning 
Empress with a magnificent income, no lia- 
bilities, and a town and a country house, both 
fully furnished and equipped. From his point 

1 To be precise 1,898,098 francs, of which 587,411 were due 
to jewellers, 290,733 to the dressmaker Leroy, and 121,013 to 
one dealer in lace alone (M. Masson, " Josephine R6pudi6e," 
p. 99). 

5^4 The Empress Josephine 

of view, Napoleon had fulfilled his promise 
of generous treatment, and he was perfectly 
sincere in his protestation that he intended 
to keep her always as his best and dearest 
friend. The question of his financial arrange- 
ments must be left to a later chapter. Here 
we may concern ourselves with the personal 
relations between Emperor and Empress after 
the divorce and see how far Napoleon was able 
to carry out his wishes. 

Josephine was accompanied to Malmaison by 
her son and her daughter, who were, according 
to the promises which they had given, to help 
to Console and calm their mother in her new 
situation. The disposition which her Household 
showed to desert her service was at once checked 
and all were ordered to continue in their duties 
until the New Year. The Emperor did not 
leave it for others to satisfy him as to her state 
after leaving him, for he drove over to Malmaison 
on the following day and paid her a visit. They 
walked in the park together, as of old, but it 
was noticed that he only shook her hand as 
he came and went and that he did not kiss her. 
He was not quite satisfied with her condition. 
On his return to Trianon he wrote to her at 

Tears 525 

eight o'clock the same evening the letter which 
appears in Queen Hortense's collection.^ " My 
friend/' he began, " I found you to-day weaker 
than you should have been. You have shown 
courage, and you must find enough to sustain 
you. You must not let yourself lapse into a 
fatal melancholy, you must grow content, and 
above all look after your health, which is so 
precious to me. . . . Sleep well, think to 
yourself that this is what I wish," he said in 
conclusion, for the letter was despatched to 
reach her before she went to bed. 

As might be imagined, Josephine found it 
impossible to maintain the " courage " which 
Napoleon wished to see her display. She 
grew worse rather than better. Eugene, writing 
to his wife on the day after the arrival at Mal- 
maison, says : " The Empress is well. Her 
grief was bitter enough this morning as she 
went through the places where she lived so 
long with the Emperor, but her courage got 
the upper hand, and she is resigned to her new 
situation, I firmly believe that she will be 
happier and more tranquil," But when, fol- 
lowing the Emperor's example, visitors began 

' " Letters de Napoleon a Josephine," No. 95. 

526 The Empress Josephine 

to hasten to Malmaison to pay their respects, 
they found Josephine constantly weeping. 
Kings, queens, princes, princesses, and all the 
official and social world of Paris came in pil- 
grimage to Malmaison, and all alike saw her 
in tears. It was very natural, and the visitors 
for the most part were moved to sympathy, 
both real and politic. But the Emperor, who 
never omitted to ask all whether they had 
seen the Empress, was troubled by the universal 
report. On the 19th, while out shooting, he 
sent Savary to see her, and a letter followed 
in the evening, answering one of hers which 
does not survive : 

" I have your letter, mon amie. Savary tells 
me that you are constantly crying. That is 
not right. I hope that you have been able 
to take a walk to-day. I have sent you some 
of my bag. I will come to see you when you 
assure me that you are reasonable and that 
your courage has got the upper hand. To- 
morrow I have the Ministers here all day. 
Farewell, mon amie. I, too, am melancholy 
to-day. I want to hear that you are satisfied 
and to learn of your self-possession. Sleep well. 

" Napoleon." 

A Christmas Dinner 527 

Mme. de Remusat, to whom Josephine con- 
fided that " she often imagined herself dead 
and that all that was left was a vague sensation 
of existing no longer," did her best to make her 
mistress take walks, also sent through her 
husband, who was at Trianon, the very sensible 
advice that Napoleon should moderate the 
expression of his regret when he wrote to 
Josephine, and should rather try to encourage 
her. Certainly his mention of his own sorrow 
was not likely to lessen hers. However, his 
affection prevented him from taking the advice, 
as some of his subsequent letters show. He 
apparently found it easier to disguise his feelings 
when he met Josephine than when he wrote. 
On the 24th he paid another visit and again 
did not kiss her, while he took care not to get 
out of sight of third parties. On Christmas Day 
he allowed her to come over to dinner with him 
at Trianon, bringing Hortense ; and Eugene, 
who was also present, declares him to have been 
" very kind and amiable to her," so that she 
immediately seemed to grow better. 

On the following day Napoleon returned to 
the Tuileries, while Josephine soon belied 
Eugene's statement, on his own showing. 

528 The Empress Josephine 

" Eugene has told me," wrote Napoleon on the 
27th, " that you were very sad yesterday. 
That is not right, mon amie. It is contrary to 
what you promised me." He could not refrain 
from adding : "I was much annoyed at seeing 
the Tuileries again. The great Palace seemed 
very empty to me, and I found myself all alone." 
He was anxious even to bring her back to Paris 
at once, but the Elysee had been borrowed to 
lodge the Murats, who were not anxious to go 
home to Naples yet. Eugene had hopes that 
his mother would accompany him to Milan. 
She, however, was as eager to be back in Paris 
as Napoleon seemed to be that she should come. 
In the meantime she continued to receive her 
visitors at Malmaison, not less tearful, but 
gradually more resigned. 

If confirmation of her resignation be required, 
it may be found in her next step, which would 
be astounding if it were not with the character 
of Josephine that we are dealing. On the first 
day of 1810, sixteen days after her departure 
from the Tuileries, she sent a message to the 
wife of the former Austrian Ambassador in 
Paris, that she would much like to see her. 
Mme. de Metternich arrived at Malmaison next 

From a picture by Priidhon. Plioto by Neurdin Frires. 

p. 528. 

The Austrian Marriage 529 

day, and was greeted by Hortense with the 
words : " You know that we are all Austrians 
at heart, but you would never guess that my 
mother has had the courage to advise the 
Emperor to ask for the hand of your Arch- 
duchess." Josephine came in as her daughter 
spoke and at once began : "I have a scheme 
which takes up my whole attention and by 
whose success alone I hope that the sacrifice 
I have just made will not be entirely wasted. 
It is that the Emperor should marry your 
Archduchess. I spoke of it to him yesterday, 
and he told me that his mind was not yet quite 
made up ; but I believe that it would be if he 
were sure of being accepted by you." 

It was a fact which Josephine was relating to 
her visitor. Eugene had already approached on 
the subject Prince Schwarzenberg, the present 
representative of Austria, with the assurance 
of his mother's consent. When h^d Napoleon 
and Josephine come to an agreement upon this 
point ? It is not known. As late as Novem- 
ber 22 Napoleon, disappointed in his hopes of 
the Grand Duchess Catherine of Russia, had 
instructed his representative in St. Petersburg, 
Caulaincourt, to ask for her sister, the Grand 

VOL. II 13 

53° The Empress Josephine 

Duchess Anne. Being refused her, on account 
of her youth, he saw no other Princess so suit- 
able as Marie-Louise of Austria. But Jose- 
phine's intervention, in the midst of her in- 
consolable grief, might well seem surprising to 
others as well as to Mme. de Metternich. Al- 
though Josephine loved match-making, this 
was assuredly an extraordinary match which 
she was now helping to make. It is unfortunate 
that there is no clue to show when the idea 
first came into her head. 

If Napoleon must be married, however, there 
were obvious advantages for Josephine in 
appearing as his assistant in bringing about this 
marriage. She was, if not quite " an Austrian 
at heart," in Hortense's words, at least on 
friendly terms with the Austrian Imperial family, 
especially the Archduke Ferdinand and the 
Metternichs. Then Marie-Louise was only 
eighteen, and with a young wife, married purely 
for State reasons. Napoleon would be likely to 
require the aid of her own experience to advise 
him. Might she not even expect that he would 
be even more glad to have her in Paris after 
his second marriage than before, when he still 
dreaded the effect which the sight of her might 

Favours from Napoleon 531 

have upon his courage ? A permanent resi- 
dence in Paris, with occasional seasons at Mal- 
maison, was the best fate for which she could 
hope, and the union which she was advocating 
for her late husband seemed to bring this 
possibility nearer. 

Malmaison, indeed, soon began to pall with- 
out the possible distraction of visits to Paris. 
Josephine was not yet forty-seven and she did 
not feel the charms of the life of a retired dow- 
ager. The Emperor continued to write con- 
stantly, but his trips to Malmaison were fewer 
as the weeks went by. It was in vain that he 
wrote how he was making her a present of one 
hundred thousand francs for the extraordinary 
expenses of her property and that she might 
" plant what she liked," or promised her other 
favours.^ What she wanted and what she 
wrote to him about was permission to come to 
the Elysee at once. This is plain from his 
answers. " I should hear of your presence at 
the Elysee with pleasure," he wrote on January 
30, "and [should be] very glad to see you more 
often, for you know how much I love you." 
And again, a few days later : " I have had your 

1 See Queen Hortense's collection. No. 2qo. 

53^ The Empress Josephine 

belongings brought to the Elys6e. You will 
always be coming to Paris, but be calm and 
content, and have complete confidence in me." 
At last the Palace was ready for her at the be- 
ginning of February, and she took up her occu- 
pation of it at once, while Eugene, satisfied that 
his mother had got her way, returned to his 
wife at Milan. 

The realisation of her wish did not equal 
Josephine's expectations. Napoleon's first note 
to her at the Elysee begins : " Savary on his 
arrival gave me your letter. I am pained to 
see that you are melancholy." ^ Josephine 
found that, although she was back in Paris, she 
was no longer in its society as before. "It is 
perhaps not quite suitable that we should be 
under the same roof during the first year," the 
Emperor wrote to her in another letter ; and, 
in fact, at all the great festivities, whither even 
Hortense might go, there was no place for the 
divorced Empress. The Court balls and ex- 
cursions were not for her, the theatres were 
forbidden if the Royal box was occupied, the 
Bois was out of bounds if a hunt was on, the 
papers were forbidden to mention her (although 

1 See Queea Hortense's collection. No. 210. 

Restricted Freedom 533 

they disobeyed) because a new Empress was 
soon starting on her way to Paris and the mar- 
riage contract had already been signed. The 
imagined attractions of the Elysee were all 
absent. Exile there was worse than at Mal- 
maison, and it can have been with no regret 
that after a month Josephine quitted Paris and 
returned to her garden. 

The Emperor, however, had no intention of 
allowing his former wife to be even in the neigh- 
bourhood of the capital when Marie-Louise 
arrived at the end of March. To soften the 
blow he had decided to present Josephine with 
a third residence, the old chateau of Navarre, 
near Evreux, more than fifty miles across 
country from Paris. The original building had 
been erected in the fourteenth century by the 
Kings of Navarre ; but that which was standing 
in 1810 dated only from the end of the seven- 
teenth century, and consisted of a huge two- 
storied square block, topped by a dome upon 
which one of the Comtes d' Evreux had intended 
to set up a statue of his uncle, the great Turenne.^ 
At its side stood a smaller house. Both alike 

1 See a full and amusing description of Navarre in M. 
Masson's '■' Josephine R6pudiee," 148-50. 

534 The Empress Josephine 

were dilapidated, draughty, and unfurnished. 
Apart from its size, Navarre was a most un- 
promising home. But Napoleon purchased the 
place on March 8, signed the Letters Patent 
assigning to it Josephine and her heirs on the 
nth, and ordered at once the repairs necessary 
to make it habitable. On the 12th, having 
spoken to her previously of his intention of 
presenting the chateau to her, he writes : 

" Mon amie, I hope that you will have been 
contented with what I have done for Navarre. 
You will have seen herein a new proof of my 
desire to please you.^ Take possession of 
Navarre ; you will be able to go thither on 
March 25 to spend the month of April." 

Josephine showed no great anxiety to set out 
for Navarre, in spite of the obvious anxiety of 
the Emperor that she should leave Malmaison 
before Marie-Louise reached Paris. Accounts 
of the condition of her new chateau no doubt 
influenced her in part, for a letter remains from 
her to the Departmental Prefect at Evreux, 
speaking of her desire to hire a house near at 

* The Letters Patent above mentioned contain a similar 
phrase : " Wishing to give to the Empress Josephine a new 
proof of our affection, we have -resolved," etc. 

Navarre 535 

hand, from which she might superintend the 
repairs. But also Eugene and Augusta were 
expected from Milan, in order to assist at the 
Imperial wedding. The stay of her daughter- 
in-law at Malmaison, commencing on March 20, 
furnished Josephine with an excuse for neglect- 
ing the date appointed by the Emperor for her 
departure. On the 28th she was still at Mal- 
maison. That same night Marie-Louise reached 
Compiegne, and Josephine started for Navarre, 
having risked as far as possible a disobedience of 
the order which had been given to her.^ 

Accompanied by her small Court the sup- 
planted Empress arrived at Evreux on March 
29. Her Household had diminished since the 
divorce. Mme. de la Rochefoucauld had been 
among the first to leave her and had been 
transferred to the suite of Marie-Louise, as 
had Mmes. de Lu9ay, Lauriston, and Talhoufit. 
Monseigneur de Rohan, her almoner, had also 
gone, and a number of her other ladies and 
gentlemen. But Mme. de Remusat remained, 
having sided completely with her mistress and 

> " Can we believe," asks M. Masson (" Josephine Repudiee " 
146) "that such a departure, so much delayed and then sp 
precipitate, was voluntary ? " 

53 6 The Empress Josephine 

blaming Napoleon severely for his conduct with 
regard to the divorce. Mme. d'Arberg, of 
German princely descent and attached to Jose- 
phine since the Coronation, remained also, and 
was now Lady of Honour and Superintendent 
of the Household. Others with her were Mme. 
Nay, the school friend of Hortense; Mme. 
Audenarde, a Creole and mother of the Emperor's 
equerry ; Mmes. Octave de Segur, de Turenne, 
and de Viel-Castel ; and Mme. Gazzani, her 
reader, Napoleon's marked admiration for whom 
had not lost her Josephine's favour. Not all 
of these were with her yet, and some were soon 
to abandon her. But, with newcomers, her 
suite was sufficiently imposing when she drove 
into Evreux on the morning of her arrival, to 
be met by the Prefect and the Mayor, the 
National Guard, the townspeople and the local 
clergy, all eager to do honour to their new 
neighbour on her way to Navarre. She was at 
once pleased and pained. " The inhabitants 
have been most attentive," she wrote to her 
daughter ; " but this display of festivity looked 
a little like complimentary condolences." 

Josephine's first sojourn at Navarre lasted a 
little over six weeks, and those weeks were no 

The New Abode 537 

more pleasant to her than she had anticipated. 
The repairs to the house had been hasty and 
incomplete. The rooms were vast and chilly, 
the windows would not close, the roof leaked, 
and the chimneys smoked. The chateau's 
situation in a valley, while giving beautiful 
views of wooded hills from the windows in the 
summer, made it very damp for the greater 
part of the year. In April all was cold and 
cheerless. The Household was invaded by a 
spirit of revolt. To the desertions of December 
1809, were added several others now. The 
service of the retired Empress lost all charm for 
many who had expected to find the honour 
accompanied by pleasure and ease in the neigh- 
bourhood of Paris, or even in Paris itself. Mme. 
Ney, school friend of Hortense and niece of 
Mme. Campan, produced a letter from her hus- 
band in Spain, written before the departure to 
Navarre, ordering her to go to Paris. Josephine 
received the news with dignity and a singular 
absence of malice. " It would have been sweet 
to me not to lose you," she told her. ..." But 
I know that a woman's first duty is to her hus- 
band. Your obedience is proper, and I accept 
your resignation. Believe in my regrets and 

53 8 The Empress Josephine 

in the friendship which will always attach me 
to you. I will tell the Emperor and will do 
my best to support your husband's wish to see 
you attached to the Empress." Mme. de 
Turenne, who had not accompanied Josephine 
to Navarre, soon followed Mme. Ney's example. 
Among the men the Comte Andre de Beaumont 
and the Comte de Montholon found duties 
which prevented their immediate presence ; 
and the new almoner, Barral, Archbishop of 
Tours, was detained in Paris by the marriage 

Nor was there harmony among those who 
were loyal to their mistress. The ladies quar- 
relled with Pierlot, the Intendant, whom the 
attraction of Court life had taken away from 
banking ; and when he brought over vanloads 
of furniture to supply the great deficiencies of 
the chateau, seized what they wanted before he 
could stop them. Jealousy divided the ladies 
themselves. A smile more from the Empress 
to one of them produced several long faces, says 
Mile. Georgette Ducrest, a niece of Mme. de 
Genhs, whom Josephine had lately attached to 
her suite and who has left a collection of 
Memoirs of considerable personal interest. 

Life at Navarre 539 

Mile. Ducrest herself counted several enemies 
through the presentation of a camellia to 
her by Josephine. 

It cannot be wondered at that a desire to 
leave Navarre and return to Malmaison seized 
upon the Empress as well as her Household. 
The amusements, which consisted chiefly of 
drives through the damp country by day and 
sleepy games of backgammon with the seventy- 
five-year-old Bishop of Evreux at night, could 
not distract Josephine's thoughts from Mal- 
maison, which at this distance seemed indeed a 
paradise. The Emperor was approached early 
in April both about this and about an advance 
of money for alterations necessary to " make 
Navarre habitable." He sent Eugene to say 
that he would consent to both, as appears from 
Josephine's letter of April ig, in which she 
thanks him. 

" This double favour. Sire," she continues, 
" goes far to drive away the great anxiety, and 
even fear, inspired by Your Majesty's long 
silence. I was afraid of being entirely banished 
from your remembrance. I see now that I am 
not. I am therefore less unhappy, and even 
as happy as it is possible for me to be hence- 

540 The Empress Josephine 

forward. I shall go to Malmaison at the end 
of the month, since Your Majesty sees no 
objection to this ; but I must tell you, Sire, 
that I should not have availed myself so soon 
of the hberty which Your Majesty has granted 
if the house at Navarre did not call for urgent 
repairs, for my health's sake and for that of 
the persons attached to my Household. My 
idea is to stay at Malmaison for a very short 
time. I shall soon take my departxire to go to 
the waters ; but during my stay at Malmaison 
Your Majesty may be sure that I shall live there 
as if I were a thousand leagues away from Paris. 
I have made a great sacrifice, Sire, and more 
every day I appreciate its magnitude. This 
sacrifice, however, shall be all it ought to be ; 
it shaU be complete on my part. Your 
Majesty shall not be troubled in the midst 
of your happiness by any expression of my 

The letter concludes with a request for a proof 
both to her and to those about her that she 
still retained " a little place in his memory and a 
big place in his esteem and friendship." Its 
tone is not unreasonable^ and it surely does 
not merit either the severe criticisms of some of 

A Lcttef of Thanks 541 

the biographers ^ or the reply of Napoleon, who 
wrote from Compiegne on April 21 complaining 
of its mauvais style. He added, however, that 
he heard with pleasure that she was going to 
Malmaison and would be glad to exchange 
news. This letter was brought by Eugene, 
who divided his time between Navarre and 
Compiegne. Josephine's reply merits quotation 
in full : 

" A thousand, thousand loving thanks for not 
having forgotten me. My son has just brought 
me your letter. With what eagerness I read it, 
and yet I spent plenty of time in doing so, for 
there was not a word in it which did not make 
me weep ; but these tears were very sweet ! 
I have got back my heart entirely, and it will 
always be as it is now. Certain feelings are 
life itself and can only finish with Ufe. I should 
have been in despair if my letter of the 19th 
had displeased you. I do not remember its 
exact wording ; but I know how painful was 
the feehng which dictated it — the sorrow of not 
hearing from you. I had written to you after 

* E.g. M. Turquan (" L'LmpSratrice Josephine," 228), who 
declares the letter to be totally lacking in dignity. M. Masson 
calls it a chef d'ceuvre, but questions the sincerity of her next 

542 The Empress Josephine 

my departure from Malmaison ; and since 
then how many times have I not wished to write 
to you ! But I knew the reason for your silence, 
and I feared to importune you by a letter. 
Yours was a bahn to me. Be happy, be as 
happy as you deserve, it is my whole heart which 
speaks to you. You have just given me my 
share of happiness, and a share which I appre- 
ciate to the full. Nothing to me can be worth 
as much as a proof of your remembrance. 
Farewell, mon ami. I thank you as tenderly 
as I shall always love you. 

" Josephine." 

In answer to this and another letter, which 
has not been preserved, Napoleon wrote briefly 
from Compiegne on April 28, encouraging her 
to go to the waters and protesting his unchanged 
feelings toward her. One sentence in the note 
calls for attention. " Do not listen to the babble 
of Paris," he says ; " they are idle and far from 
knowing the truth." The " babble " of which 
Napoleon speaks seems to comprehend the 
various rumours that were current while he 
was at Compiegne, which made out that the 
new Empress was jealous of Josephine's prox- 

"The Babble of Paris" 543 

imity and that in consequence Malmaison was 
to be bought back and Josephine reduced to 
Duchess of Navarre or exiled to the Duchy of 
Berg — just the kind of rumours which Parisian 
idleness might be expected to breed. There 
was no foundation for them at all in fact. On 
the contrary, Napoleon showed himself most 
wiUing to fall in with Josephine's desire, ex- 
pressed through the medium of Eugene, to draw 
up a programme of her movements for the 
remainder of 1810 and the spring of 1811. She 
wished to go first to Malmaison, then at the end 
of May to whatever waters might be best ; after 
three months to proceed to the South of France, 
Rome, Florence, Naples, and Milan ; to spend 
the winter with Eugene and Augusta in Milan 
and to return in the spring to Malmaison and 
Navarre. In order to make Navarre her real 
headquarters she must have money, however. 
Napoleon agreed to the programme, and with re- 
gard to the waters consented that she should even 
go to Aix-la-ChapeUe if the doctors should think 
that the best place for her, although he preferred 
that she should go whither she had not already 
been with him — for obvious reasons, seeing how 
easy it was to make her tears flow. He would 

544 The Empress Josephine 

make no present of money for Navarre, but 
would authorise the advance of the six hundred 
thousand francs left, after payment of her 
debts, out of the grants from the Crown Treasury 
for 1810 and 1811, and would permit that the 
one hundred thousand given for extraordinary 
expenses at Malmaison should be diverted to 
Navarre. " I highly approve," he told Eugene, 
" of her plan of making all her outlay on 

The reason for Josephine's decision to " make 
all her outlay on Navarre " is obscure. There 
was the opportunity, of course, of indulging in 
those schemes of reconstruction in which she 
as much as Napoleon himself delighted. And 
the place had begun to seem better to her than 
at first. " Residence at Navarre," she wrote to 
Hortense on May 3, " pleases me much. I 
am a stranger here to all intrigues." Perhaps, 
seeing what a creature of caprice she was, we 
must assume that she had really taken a fancy 
to Navarre, which the departure of the cold 
weather rendered more attractive. As she had 
written in her letter of April 3, " one ought to 
live at Navarre in the months of May, June, 
July, and even the beginning of August; it is 

Comparative Content 545 

then the most enchanting place that there is." 
This year, however, she did not wish to put the 
statement to the test, for in the middle of May 
she brought to an end her first stay at Navarre 
and returned to Malmaison, then in its spring 
glory. Speaking of her double hyacinths and 
tulips imported from Holland, she had once 
cried : " It is now two years that I have been 
prevented from seeing them in flower. Bona- 
parte always summons me to him just at the 
moment ! " In 1810 at least she had her 
hyacinths and tulips and all the other delights 
which Malmaison could offer. As for " Bona- 
parte," she was in hopes of seeing him at the 
end of the month, in accordance with the promise 
written by him while touring with the Empress 
Marie-Louise in Northern France and Belgium. 

VOL. II 14 



NAPOLEON'S promised visit to Malmaison 
took place on May 13, twelve days 
after his return to Paris. Josephine has left, 
in a letter written to Hortense next day, the 
following record of her feelings : 

" You ask me what I am doing. I had an 
hour of happiness yesterday ; the Emperor 
came to see me. His presence made me happy, 
although it renewed my sorrows. Such emotion 
one would willingly go through often. All the 
time that he stayed with me I had sufficient 
courage to keep back the tears which I felt were 
ready to flow ; but after he was gone I could not 
keep them back and I became very unhappy. 
He was kind and amiable to me as usual, and 
I hope that he read in my heart all the affection 
and all the devotion for him which fiUs me." 

Josephine's tears passed away quickly, and 
the same evening after the Emperor's visit she 


Hortense and Louis 54? 

was riotously gay. Part of her cheerfulness 
was no doubt due to the fact that she had gained 
permission for Hortense to return no more to 
Holland. After the visit to Compiegne in the 
company of Napoleon and Marie-Louise and so 
many of the Imperial family, Hortense had been 
ordered, sorely against her will, to proceed to 
Amsterdam to rejoin her husband. Her health 
was still very bad, and Louis's conduct was 
worse. Josephine's letters^ of the first half of 
May manifest extreme anxiety, and her great 
desire is that Hortense shall accompany her 
to the waters to which she is going after leaving 
Malmaison — Aix-la-Chapelle was her first idea, 
which she abandoned later in favour of Aix 
in Savoy (Aix-les-Bains). The Queen's bodily 
state grew alarming, and the wretched Louis, 
who could live neither with nor without her, 
consented that she should leave Amsterdam for 
Plombieres at the end of May. Here she was 
when she received her mother's letter of May 14, 
which, after describing the feelings aroused 
by Napoleon's visit, goes on : 

" I spoke to him about your position and he 
listened to me with interest He thinks that' 
you should not return again to Holland, the 

54^ The Empress Josephine 

King not having behaved as he ought to have 
done. . . . The Emperor's advice therefore is 
that you should take the waters for the necessary 
time and that then you should write to your 
husband that the advice of the doctors is that 
you should live in a warm climate for some 
time, and in consequence you are going to 
Italy, to your brother's ; as for your son, he will 
give orders that he is not to leave France. . . . 
Your son, who is here just now, is very well. 
He is pink and white." ^ 

A few days after sending this news to Hor- 
tense, Josephine set out for Aix-les-Bains. 
She had chosen the place for reasons already 
explained to her daughter. "My health re- 
quires distraction above all, and I hope to find 
more of that in a place which I have not yet 
seen and whose situation is picturesque. The 
waters are especially renowned for the nerves." 
Travelling under the name of the Comtesse 
d'Arberg and accompanied only by Mmes. de 
Remusat and d' Audenarde, Mile, de Mackau, MM. 

' Of the two sons here mentioned, the first is Napoleon- 
Louis, whose health was too delicate to allow him to live in 
Holland, and who was accordingly in Paris now. The other, 
at Malmaison when the letter was written, was Louis-Napoleon, 
called by his doting grandmother " Oui-Oui." 

Aix'IeS'Bains 549 

de Pourtales and de Turpin-Criss^, she reached 
Aix before the beginning of the season. Two 
small houses were hired, and life was very 
simple and quiet at first. As the news of her 
arrival spread, however, visitors began to come 
from Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble, and Northern 
Italy, and a small, unceremonious Court formed 
itself, restrained only by her determination to 
maintain her incognito. Bathing, excursions, 
tapestry-making, and reading aloud of the 
latest novels from Paris passed the days peace- 
fully. Only one incident produced any ex- 
citement, when on a trip by water to the ancient 
abbey of Hautecombe a storm nearly wrecked 
the boat, causing Napoleon to write from 
Trianon : "I heard with grief the danger 
which you ran. For an inhabitant of the Isles 
of the Ocean to die in a lake would be a 
catastrophe ! " 

To judge by the letter which she wrote to 
Hortense on July 3, Josephine was ill qontent 
with her quiet surroundings at Aix. " Let me 
see you, my dear daughter," she concludes. 
" Alone, abandoned, far from all my own ones, 
and in the midst of strangers, judge how 
melancholy I am and what need I have of 

55° The Empress Josephine 

your presence ! " This complaint of solitude 
and abandonment is scarcely borne out by the 
facts. Before Hortense arrived from Plom- 
bieres, bringing with her Julie Bonaparte, wife 
of Joseph, who had been with her there, other 
family visitors had not been lacking. Eugene 
and Augusta had been seen on their way back 
from France to Milan. Josephine's young 
cousin, Louis Tascher, whose marriage to Am61ie 
von der Leyen, daughter of one of the " medi- 
atised " Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, 
had lately been carried through by Napoleon 
at Josephine's request, had come to Aix with 
his bride, mourning for the terrible death of 
her mother at the Austrian Ambassador's ball 
in Paris. Outside the family circle, there had 
been Charles de Flahault, a young man whose 
social accomplishments had won him the favour 
of Josephine and still more of Hortense, whose 
attachment to him unfortunately went so far 
as to leave a stain upon her good name. Fla- 
hault had preceded the Queen in coming from 
Plombieres and was now attached to Josephine's 
suite, bringing with him an air of gaiety which 
always appealed to her heart. Other new 
friends included Mme. de Souza, formerly the 

The Empress's Circle 551 

Comtesse de Flahault, Charles's mother, who 
afterwards brought up and educated Hortense's 
illegitimate son. Josephine was, therefore, 
scarcely so desolate as her letter to her daughter 
would make out. Still, there can be no doubt 
that when joined by Hortense — who, in spite 
of her ill-health and a continual propensity 
to tears, brought with her to Aix her talent 
for inventing social diversions and a decorous 
literary and artistic atmosphei^e which might 
be expected to surround Mme. Campan's prize 
pupil — Josephine found life more than tolerable 
at Aix. Now she was the centre of an admiring 
throng, and her Imperial liveries, as she drove 
about the place, created a gratifying impression. 
Visits to Geneva gave variety to her day, and 
she at once startled and pleased the townspeople 
with her dresses, her suite, and her affability 
to every one. The life of luxurious calm was 
one which she would naturally enjoy, and up 
to the end of August nothing appeared likely 
to disturb it. Early in September, however, 
a change occurred. Josephine suddenly set off 
to Secheron, a small and dull country place, 
and took rooms at an hotel, leaving Hortense 
at Aix. The only explanation which we have 

55^ The Empress Josephine 

of her conduct is in a letter written to her 
daughter from Secheron on September 9 in 
which occur the words : 

" I have not heard from the Emperor ; but 
I thought that I ought to prove to him the 
interest which I have in the Empress's preg- 
nancy. I have just written to him on the 
subject. I hope that this proceeding will put 
him at his ease, and that he will be able to 
speak to me about it with a confidence as 
great as my attachment to him." 

Josephine's letter to Napoleon is not extant, 
but his reply of September 14, acknowledging 
its receipt, is in Queen Hortense's collection. 
The Empress is effectivement grosse de quatre 
mois, he says. " She is in good health and 
is much attached to me." That there was a 
connection between Marie-Louise's condition 
and Josephine's restlessness there can hardly 
be a doubt. While France was rejoicing in 
the expectation of an heir to Napoleon,^ Jose- 
phine was making a tour round the Lake of 
Geneva and, after Hortense had left Aix for 

1 '' La grossesse de I'lmpSratrice est une joie puhlique, une 
esp&rance nouvelle," writes Mme. de R6musat in the letter men- 
tioned on p. 555. 

Expectation of an Heir 553 

Fontainebleau by the Emperor's order toward 
the end of September, she extended her journey 
to Neufchatel and Berne. Her great desire 
now was that the Emperor should allow her 
to cancel the programme which she herself had 
submitted to him through Eugene in April 
and to return at once to Malmaison. The 
announcement of her successor's pregnancy, 
so far from causing her to wish to leave France, 
had precisely the opposite effect. Those who 
attribute her action to mere contrariety have 
an easy task in explaining why this was so. 
For Napoleon's view was certainly that she 
would do well to go to Milan, as originally 
arranged. "Go to see your son this winter," 
he wrote to her on October i, " come back to 
the waters at Aix next year, or else stay at 
Navarre for the spring. I would advise you 
to go to Navarre at once if I did not fear that 
you would grow weary there. My opinion is 
that you could only spend the winter suitably 
at Milan or Navarre." With this we may 
compare two letters from Josephine to Hor- 
tense, written from Berne on October 12 and 
13 respectively : 

" If in three days from now I do not receive 

554 The Empress Josephine 

letters telling me what to do, I shall think that 
the Emperor has not approved the request 
which I made of him. I shall leave for 
Geneva, . . . from Geneva I shall return to 
Malmaison ; there at least I shall be in France, 
and, if aU the world deserts me, I shall dwell 
there alone, conscious of having sacrificed my 
happiness to make that of others." 

" After having reflected well " — this is from 
the second letter — " I shall follow the Emperor's 
first idea and shall establish myself at Navarre. 
It seems to me very unsuitable to go to Italy, 
especially in the winter. If it was for a visit 
of one or two months, I should gladly go to 
see my son ; but to stop there longer is im- 
possible. ... I confess to you that if I were 
obliged to remove from France for more than 
a month I should die of grief. At Navarre at 
least I shall have the pleasure of seeing you 
sometimes, and it is so great a happiness for 
me that I must prefer the place which brings 
me nearest to my dear daughter. . . . My dear 
Hortense, if I were to go to Italy, I am sure 
that several persons attached to me would 
send in their resignations. It is very melan- 
choly to think of this 1" 

Furthisr Sacrifice Needed 555 

It is plain from the above letters that while 
Napoleon wished his former wife to be in Italy, 
or at most not nearer than Navarre, until 
Marie-Louise had borne her child, Josephine 
entirely rejected the Italian scheme (although 
it was originally hers) and accepted Navarre 
only if she could not yet obtain Malmaison. 
Still more light is thrown on the matter by a 
long letter from Mme. de Remusat in Paris 
to Josephine in Switzerland, written apparently 
in September or early October and included 
in Queen Hortense's collection.^ The writer 
says that she has been unable yet to ask from 
the Emperor, so much occupied in his own 
affairs, the audience which Josephine had 
desired her to ask, but has already seen " sonie 
important personages " ; and the result of her 
inquiries and observations is that Josephine's 
sacrifice still requires completion. Josephine 
had hoped that the Emperor would be able 
to bring about a meeting between her and 
Marie-Louise, especially when the latter should 

' Letter 220 n. It is undated. M. Masson, from what 
slight evidence there is, deduces that Josephine received it 
between October i and 15, most probably in the first week 
of the month. 

55^ The Empress Josephine 

be reassured by the expectation of a child 
that her position was secure. " But, madame," 
says Mme. de Remusat, " if I am not mistaken 
in my observations, the time has not come for 
such a meeting." Marie-Louise, in fact, was 
jealous, and this feeling could but be increased 
if Josephine were to return to Paris. Besides, 
what could Josephine do at the time of the 
birth of the so much desired child ? What 
would the Emperor do, divided between his 
duties of the present and his memories of the 
past ? She could not be allowed to remain in 
Paris. " Malmaison, even Navarre, would be 
too close to the gossip of an idle and often 
evil-minded town. Obliged to depart, you 
would appear to be leaving by command and 
would lose all the honour due to courageous 
conduct on your own initiative." 

Among those whom Mme. de Remusat had 
seen was Duroc, the Grand Marshal. From 
him she gathered that Josephine ought now 
to make her last sacrifice and to write to the 
Emperor announcing her intention. 

" By removing an embarrassment from which 
his affection for you leaves him unable to escape 
alone you will acquire new claims on his grati- 

Josephine Resists 557 

tude. And beside, apart from the reward 
which always follows right and reasonable 
conduct, may you not, with the amiable char- 
acter which always marks you and your aptitude 
to please and to make yourself loved, may 
you not find in the course of a rather more 
prolonged journey pleasures which you do not 
foresee at first ? At Milan there awaits you 
the sweet spectacle of a son's merited success. 
Flprence and Rome too would gratify your 
tastes in a manner which would adorn your 
temporary retirement. You would encounter 
at every step in Italy memories which the 
Emperor would see recalled with no vexation, 
for to him they are connected with the epoch 
of his earliest glories." 

There is much more in this strain. Mme. 
de Remusat very clearly writes under the in- 
spiration of Napoleon, conveyed through Duroc, 
and no one could see this more clearly than 
Josephine. She, however, had no intention of 
being moved by such arguments as were ad- 
vanced. She had the advantage in the struggle 
with Napoleon now that he was still too tenderly 
disposed toward her to give her a positive order 
to visit Milan, while she had no hesitation in 

55^ The Empress Josephine 

acting against his mere wishes. Her end was 
gained by a series of steps. She had arranged 
in April to spend the winter at Milan. In 
September she changed her mind on hearing 
of the approaching event at Paris. Napoleon 
had already said incautiously in a July letter 
that he " would be glad to see her in the au- 
tumn." Why not then in Paris ? He signified 
his wish that she should go to Milan in view 
of Marie-Louise's condition, but did not forbid 
Navarre. Seizing at once on Navarre, Josephine 
prepared to set out for the place — by way of 
Malmaison. She wrote to him saying that she 
was leaving Geneva on November i and would 
spend twenty-four hours at Malmaison before 
settling down at Navarre. He appears to have 
offered no objection, although experience should 
have taught him that expressions of time 
meant little to Josephine. 

Before quitting Geneva, whither she had 
gone after Berne, she stopped to purchase for 
herself the little chateau of Pr^gny, on the 
edge of the Lake of Geneva and facing Mont 
Blanc. Here we find her stopping two years 
later. She paid for the house and furniture 
between one hundred and fifty and two hundred 

" Twenty^four Hours" at Malmaison 559 

thousand francs, an extravagance which sadly 
troubles her biographers. 

Josephine started on her return journey, as 
she had announced that she would, on Nov- 
ember I, and arrived at Malmaison to spend 
her " twenty-four " hours. Napoleon was still 
at Fontainebleau with the Empress Marie- 
Louise, which made it easier for the many 
malcontents who regretted Josephine as soon 
as they became better acquainted with her 
successor to flock to Malmaison and pour out 
their grievances to ears not likely to be closed 
against them. For Josephine, although not 
malicious, could hardly help being pleased to 
hear what people had to say concerning the 
woman who feared so much the possibility of 
her presence near the Emperor. She had 
been left in no doubt what was the attitude of 
Marie-Louise toward her. Had not even Mme. 
de Remusat's inspired letter to her given her 
a remarkable instance ? The Emperor one day 
(Mme. de Remusat had related, on the authority 
of Duroc), walking with Marie-Louise in the 
neighbourhood of Malmaison, had offered to 
^ow the place to her in Josephine's absence. 
" Instantly the Empress's face was running 

560 The Empress Josephine 

with tears. She dared not refuse, but the 
signs of her grief were so plain that the Emperor 
made no attempt to insist." 

There was, indeed, no uncertainty as to the 
younger Empress's jealousy of the old, and 
those who wished to torment her had a ready 
means of doing so. The date of the following 
story is uncertain, but it appears to belong to 
the early days of Marie-Louise in France. 
Napoleon, entering her room one day suddenly, 
saw her examining something which she at once 
endeavoured to conceal. Her agitation and the 
marks of tears of course attracted his attention. 
" What is the matter, Louise ? " he asked. 
" What have you got there ? " He caught 
hold of her hand and opening it discovered 
a miniature of Josephine. Napoleon's good 
humour turned to wrath. " Who gave you 
that ? " he demanded. Marie-Louise could find 
no words, but threw herself into his arms 
sobbing. " You child ! " he said. " What is 
the matter ? Why these tears ? Tell me, who 
gave you this portrait ? I want to know." 
The more she wept, the more he insisted, and 
at last she managed to stammer : "It was not 
given to me ; I found it here on the sofa when 

Marie^Louise and Josephine 561 

I came in." Although he soothed Marie- 
Louise, against whose tears, like Josephine's, 
he was not proof, the Emperor was very angry. 
The miniature (which represented Josephine 
not as she was, but as she had been) might well 
be supposed to have been dropped by him, 
which it was doubtless the intention of the 
person who had left it in the new Empress's 
room should be imagined to be the case. 

There was a very distinct danger that there 
should spring up in the Court two hostile 
parties, those of Marie-Louise and of Josephine. 
The latter' s stay at Malmaison now threatened 
to hasten the growth of the split. The feeling 
was spreading from the courtiers to the servants 
of the two households. The uniforms of the 
two Empresses' attendants were very similar, 
and meetings between the opposing camps in 
Paris resulted in quarrels which very soon 
came to Napoleon's ears. The trouble must 
be stopped. He wrote to Mme. d'Arberg that 
Josephine must leave for Narvarre as she had 
promised. His own return to the Tuileries, 
with Marie-Louise, was fixed for November 15. 
On the 14th, as Josephine was still at Mal- 
maison, he sent Cambaceres to her to hasten 

VOL. II 15 

5^2 The Empress Josephine 

her departure. She could not go without 
making the proper preparations, she protested, 
and promised to leave on the 19th. Unfor- 
tunately, her preparations were not quite com- 
pleted when the 19th arrived, and it was not 
until the 22nd that she actually reached Navarre, 
having stretched her " twenty -four hours " 
into nearly three weeks. 



IN Josephine's absence of six months, her 
architect had striven to make Navarre 
at least " habitable " and capable of 
being warmed if there were only sufficiently 
big fires. The wetness of the neighbourhood 
could not be overcome. " You will do well to 
leave your children in Paris when you come to 
Navarre," writes Josephine to Hortense in 
December. " It must be damp weather every^ 
where, but it is much more so here." The Hfe 
at the chateau, therefore, did not differ very 
materially now from what it had been when 
the first visit had been paid. The general 
course of things was very quiet. Josephine 
would come down from her room shortly before 
breakfast, which was served at eleven o'clock, 
with a considerable display alike of plate and of 
attendance, two footmen standing behind the 
mistress and one behind every one else at 


564 The^Empress Josephine 

table. Josephine was scarcely responsible for 
this, since the Emperor insisted that the cere- 
monial at Navarre should be kept up on a 
high level. In the afternoons walks or drives 
were taken when the rain permitted. In the 
garden there was little to be seen in the winter 
of 1810-11, though it was already beginning 
to be a smaU imitation of Malmaison. Indoors, 
where Josephine's taste was principally dis- 
played in her toilet (" very refined and elegant," 
says Mile. Ducrest, " but not usually magni- 
ficent "), there was little to be done except 
to use the needle and listen to Mme. Gazzani 
reading a novel aloud. Dinner, which was on 
a much more elaborate scale than breakfast, 
was followed by music, or backgammon with 
the Bishop of Evreux, or billiards with one of 
the gentlemen, or cards, Josephine often amus- 
ing herself by fortune-telling with their aid. 
Tea and then bed closed the day. " Peace 
sometimes takes the place of happiness," Mme. 
de Remusat had said of the visit to Aix ; and 
the same might be said of Navarre. 

A certain variety was given by the largeness 
of the Household, reinforced by a number of 
young girls whom Josephine had attached to 

New Year at Navarre 565 

herself, either because they could sing or be- 
cause they otherwise pleased her. "It is said 
at Navarre there are more women than men," 
remarks Napoleon in his letter acknowledging 
Josephine's New Year's greetings. Stephanie 
d'Areiiberg, formerly Tascher, had come to 
live with her kinswoman, but was not a very 
cheerful companion, for she was subject to 
fainting-fits and attacks of nerves. It maybe 
gathered from one of Josephine's letters that 
she herself suffered sometimes from nerves ; 
or was it only from tears ? Her eyes were 
troubling her, she wrote to Hortense. " My 
doctor says that it comes from having cried ; 
but for some time past I have only cried oc- 
casionally. I hope that the quiet life which 
I lead here, far from intrigues and gossip, will 
strengthen me, and that my eyes will get well." 
Josephine had hoped to have Hortense with 
her over New Year, 1811, but the Queen's 
health was too bad to allow her to leave Paris. 
In her absence Navarre was consoled by a 
lottery, in which all the prizes were given by 
the mistress of the house, and all distributed 
with such singular appropriateness that it was 
obvious that Josephine had taken the role of 

566 The Empress Josephine 

chance upon herself ; for the first lot fell to 
the almoner, Archbishop Barral, who received 
a ruby and brilliant ring (which he hoped the 
ladies of the Court would come to kiss more 
often than his old ring, he said), and no sub- 
sequent mistake was made, unless it were that 
Mme. Gazzani's prize was equal in value to 
those of the Palace ladies, in whose eyes the 
fact that the lectrice had once attracted Napoleon 
was no excuse for putting her on the same level 
as themselves. The jealousies at her Court 
had not ceased as it grew larger in consequence 
of the formation of a clique friendly to Josephine, 
because hostile to Marie-Louise — the Navarre 
Party, as it came to be called. 

The approach of Easter brought a little more 
excitement into the calm life at the chateau. 
On March 19 Josephine gave a ball to the 
people of Evreux, and on the next day there 
was a dinner at the Mayor's, to which she was 
invited with her suite. She sent the suite, but 
remained at home herself with Mme. d'Arberg. 
She was expecting to hear of an event which 
made her too anxious to care about a dinner 
at Evreux. The time of Marie-Louise's delivery 
she knew was at hand. Napoleon had written 

Birth of King of Rome 567 

to her : "I hope to have a son. I will let you 
know at once." She had already prepared a 
gift for the messenger who should bring the 
news ; a diamond pin worth five thousand 
francs if the child should be a girl, one worth 
twelve thousand if it should be a boy. 

Curiously, by absenting herself from the 
Mayor's dinner Josephine received the announce- 
ment later than if she had accepted the in- 
vitation. The sound of the guns and bells at 
Evreux reached her before the postmaster, who 
had the news from a courier on his way to 
Cherbourg, could reach her presence. According 
to the postmaster's account, when he communi- 
cated the intelligence to Josephine he noticed 
at first a slight frown upon her face. Then, 
recovering her usual gracious manner, she said 
to him : " The Emperor cannot doubt the 
lively interest which I take in an event which 
crowns his joy. He knows that I cannot 
separate myself from his destiny, and that his 
happiness will always make me happy." On 
the following morning Eugene arrived from 
the Emperor to bring full details. Josephine 
sent back her congratulations, and on the 22nd 
Napoleon wrote, in his own execrable hand, 

568 The Empress Josephine 

the note which Queen Hortense's collection 
reproduces in facsimile : 

" Mon amie, I have received your letter. I 
thank you. My son is big and healthy. I hope 
that he will do well. He has my chest, my 
mouthj and my eyes. I hope that he will 
fulfil his destiny. I am always quite satisfied 
with Eugene. He has never caused me the 
slightest sorrow. 

" Napoleon." 

Mile. Ducrest relates that Josephine was 
intending to give the Imperial page who brought 
her the letter the pin of twelve thousand francs 
value, but was persuaded by Eugene that to 
do so would be to make people think she wished 
her munificence to be talked about, and she 
therefore gave the present which she had 
designed to make in the event of the birth of 
a girl. Mile. Ducrest also states that Eugene, 
to amuse his mother, gave her a description, 
with the appropriate grimaces, of the scene in 
Marie-Louise's ante-chamber on the night pre- 
ceding the birth, when Caroline Murat and 
Pauline Borghese awaited the event which 
was to give so much extra importance to the 

A Concession from Napoleon 569 

new sister-in-law whom they loved little more 
than they had loved her predecessor. The 
Bonaparte-Beauharnais feud had practically 
ceased since the divorce, followed by Hortense's 
separation from Louis. But it had only ceased 
because Josephine and her brothers and sisters- 
in-law never met, and there had been no 
reconciliation. Josephine, therefore, was still 
likely to enjoy hearing of Caroline's and 
Pauline's discomfiture, for all her pigeon-like 
lack of gall. 

In his happiness at the advent of his long- 
desired son, Napoleon did not forget the wife 
who had failed to present him with an heir. 
He gave her permission, which she had already 
intimated through Mme. de Remusat her wish 
to obtain, to leave Navarre and come to Mal- 
maison for the spring. She came in April and 
returned to Navarre in June to spend her 
birthday — her forty-eighth — in a place where 
the celebration could not give offence to the 
other Empress. The hope of meeting Marie- 
Louise had faded away. Napoleon, if he had 
ever thought seriously of the idea, had aban- 
doned it in the face of the younger woman's 
obvious terror ; and we hear no more of 

570 The Empress Josephine 

Josephine's desire to be brought face to face 
with her rival. 

The people of Evreux, whom Josephine had 
quite won by her free-handed charities and the 
gift of money for a theatre, felt no restraint 
in displaying their gratitude to her. On the 
morning of June 23 a band of young girls, 
headed by the Mayor's daughter, arrived at the 
chateau and presented to her the good wishes 
of the town, together with a bust of herself 
under a canopy of flowers. Delighted with 
this mark of affection, Josephine kissed the 
young spokeswoman, invited the whole company 
to breakfast, and distributed gifts among them 
all. At night the town was illuminated, but 
Josephine, who had grown circumspect, it 
appears, would consent to no official fete in her 
honour. She spent the evening at home, in 
the midst of her own Household, who had 
tricked themselves out as peasants for the 
occasion and treated her to a poem of adula- 
tion set to music, which did not fail to 

Navarre, indeed, had its compensations, al- 
though it still needed reconstruction according 
to its mistress's ideas. She was contemplating 

From a picture at Versailles. Plioto by Neurdin Frtres. 

P- S70. 

*'Oui-Oui" 571 

large and expensive alterations when she decided 
to leave it at the beginning of September i8iij 
and return to Malmaison. Her reasons are 
given in a letter to her daughter on the 5th of 
the month. " The approach of autumn," she 
wrote, " and the great number of invalids in 
my Household have made me leave Navarre, 
my dear Hortense. I have been at Malmaison 
for two days. My health is fairly good, and 
to-morrow I shall have the pleasure of em- 
bracing your two children." The charms of 
the society of Napoleon-Louis and " Oui-Oui " 
were irresistible to her, and the erratic move- 
ments of Hortense, fond mother as she had 
the reputation of being, gave her the oppor- 
tunity of enjoying them fully both now and 
two years later. The younger boy was un- 
doubtedly her darling, although she did no 
injustice to the other. " Everything about 
them points to an excellent disposition and a 
great love for you. The more I see of them, 
the more I love them." But it was " Oui- 
Oui' s " character which especially delighted her, 
his sayings which she was always repeating. 
The tales of the Emperor Napoleon III. as a 
child are well known. One of them perhaps 

572 The Empress Josephine 

may be quoted here, in his grandmother's 
words : 

" Little Oui-Oui is always gracious and loving 
to me. Two days ago, seeing Mme. de Tascher 
departing to rejoin her husband at the waters, 
he said to Mme. de Boucheporn [his governess] : 
' She must love her husband very much then, 
as she is leaving grandmamma.' Do you not 
think this charming ? " 

Never do we see Josephine in a more lovable 
mood than when she takes her httle grandsons 
into the hothouses at Malmaison and gives 
them sugar-canes to suck, buys stocks of toys 
in preparation for their visit — " but not sweets ; 
be at peace, they shall not have any," she writes 
to Hortense — tells of their pink-and-white com- 
plexions and " not the slightest illness since 
they have been here," or admonishes their 
mother : " Keep yourself for them ; you are 
so necessary to them ! " ^ 

It is sad to turn from such a picture to that 
of Josephine discussing with the ungrateful 

' Napoleon III. in his fragmentary recollections of his 
infancy, it maybe recalled, says : " My grandmother spoilt me 
in the fullest sense of the word, while, on the contrary, my 
mother, from my tenderest years, devoted herself to correcting 
my faults and developing my character." 

Disloyal Discussions 573 

Bourrienne the misdeeds of Napoleon. The 
ex-secretary, though disgraced by the Emperor 
for dishonesty, had been so far forgiven as to 
be made representative of France at Hamburg. 
During visits to Paris he used to call at Mal- 
maison, and with Napoleon's approval, he said. 
" StiUi he might have imagined that in my 
conversations with Josephine in private it was 
not always praise of him which came from our 
lips." Elsewhere Bourrienne asserts that Jose- 
phine told him that the days when Napoleon 
came to visit her were days of torture for her, 
since he did not spare her feeUngs ! With this 
we may contrast the manner in which Josephine 
wrote to Hortense about Napoleon's visits. 
But, unfortunately, as she often showed in the 
days when she was still reigning Empress, as 
well as during the Consulate, she was always 
prompt to pour out to her confidants her most 
fleeting sentiments, regardless of the impression 
which their repetition might have. 

The visitors to Malmaison included many 
beside the treacherous ex-secretary. The Na- 
varre Party was flourishing, and the Empress 
Josephine was now courted quite as much as 
the Empress Marie-Louise. Her guests at 

574 The Empress Josephine 

breakfast were wont to number as many as 
ten or a dozen, and others continued to come 
in the a;ftemoon or to dinner. And not merely 
visitors but tradespeople thronged to Malmaison 
and helped to distract her mind from her griefs. 
Bourrienne says that he once compUmented her 
on the happy influence which dress and such 
things had over her. " Well, my dear friend," 
she replied, " all this ought to be indifferent 
to me, but it has become a habit." She might 
have added " and an occupation," comments 
Bourrienne, for it was no exaggeration to say 
that if from Josephine's life are subtracted the 
times spent on toilet and on tears, the length 
would have been considerably diminished.^ 

But if toilet was an occupation to Josephine, 
it was also, now as ever, an enormous expense. 
When the Emperor had settled all her bills up 
to the end of 1809 he provided, as he thought, 
against any further lapse into debts. The 
spending powers of Josephine and the incom- 
petence or dishonesty of the intendants of her 
Household had defeated his intention, and the 
financial position was growing serious again. ^ 
But she did not in consequence contemplate 

' " Memoires," ix. ii. " See p. 636. 

A New Palace 575 

any retrenchment. She had come to Malmaison 
in September with her head full of the extensive 
alterations which she desired at Navarre. At 
Malmaison she abandoned the plans for Navarre, 
but consulted her architect Fontaine with 
regard to the erection of an entirely new chateau 
here. There was no money for the purpose ; 
but would not Fontaine suggest to the Em- 
peror, when a favourable opportunity arose, 
that he might buy back from her his gift of 
the Elysee Palace ? Fontaine did as he was 
asked. Napoleon welcomed the idea of re- 
gaining the Elysee, which he had already been 
compelled to borrow from Josephine in order 
to house his Royal visitors on the occasions of 
the wedding of Marie-Louise and the birth of 
the King of Rome. He did not, however, see 
his way to giving her a sum in cash for it. In- 
stead he presented her with the chateau of 
Laeken, which she had already visited in May 
1807, when she went to meet Hortense after 
the death of Napoleon-Charles. Since he had 
purchased it in 1804 Napoleon had expended 
large sums on Laeken and turned it into a 
regular Imperial residence, for which its nearness 
to Brussels fitted it well. The house had been 

57^ The Empress Josephine 

largely rebuilt and the furniture was new and 
magnificent. The park which surrounded it 
was large, and the gardens had been stocked 
for the visit of Marie-Louise in 1811. The 
exchange, therefore, was by no means dis- 
advantageous to Josephine ; but, since it was 
money for which she had asked, not a new 
home, she was by no means satisfied with her 
bargain. She did not venture to protest. 
Napoleon signed the deed making the exchange 
in February 1812. Josephine appears never 
to have set foot in Laeken since she became its 
mistress. Perhaps she was partly influenced 
by the complaints in her Household, whose 
outcry was loud at the confiscation of their 
rooms at the Elysee and who gloomily prophesied 
that it was the Emperor's intention to make 
Josephine a prisoner in the Belgian chateau. 

The spring of 1812 found Josephine still at 
Malmaison. The fatal war with Russia was 
imminent and Napoleon was preparing to 
leave Paris to put himself at the head of the 
Grand Army. Eugene had been summoned 
by him from Milan to take part in the cam- 
paign and had visited his mother at the end 
of April, bringing with him as usual the at- 

King of Rome, Due de ReichsUdt, etc. 

From an engraving- by Weiss. 

p. 576. 

The Last Interview 577 

mosphere of gaiety which always accompanied 
him. Napoleon himself, who had not been seen 
often at Malmaison of late, had also paid a 
visit and consented at last that she should see 
the King of Rome.^ In order to disarm Marie- 
Louise, it was decided that the meeting should 
be of an apparently accidental character. In 
the Bois de Boulogne was a small chateau called 
the Pavihon of Holland, formerly Bagatelle, 
built by the Comte d'Artois in 1783 or 1784. 
The young King used to drive but thither daily 
with Mme. de Montesquiou, Imperial governess, 
and on this occasion Napoleon accompanied 
them on horseback. Josephine drove over 
from Malmaison, and the meeting took place. 

1 The majority of contemporary writers, although they are 
vague, seem to place this meeting, which was also the last 
interview between Napoleon and Josephine, in the spring of 
1812. M. Masson says (" Josephine R6pudiee," 290 n.) : 
'' In the absence of positive information, I am inclined to 
favour the winter of 1812 by the fact that there was then a 
sort of softening on the part of Marie-Louise ; this is, however, 
a mere iflduction." Napoleon, however, did not return from 
Moscow until the third week of December 1812, and he had 
little time for domestic afiairs on his return. 

M. Turquan, commenting on Josephine's request to see the 
little King, says (" L'Imperatrice Josephine," 260) : -- It 
would have been more fitting if she had not approached this 
subject, and especially if she had not asked her former husband 
to show her the son whom he had by another woman." Why ? 

VOL. II 16 

578 The Empress Josephine 

On seeing the child, Josephine found it hard 
to restrain her tears, as she had promised. 
She embraced him desperately, loaded him 
with kisses and affectionate words, and could 
not cease admiring him, until the Emperor, 
seeing that the promise would not hold good, 
brought the scene to an end by saying she 
should see the child again. According to the 
general opinion, Napoleon and Josephine never 
saw one another again after this day at 
Bagatelle. They parted without a " curtain." 
It is difficult to see why any of Josephine's 
critics should take her to task for the interest 
which she manifested in the son of Napoleon 
and Marie-Louise. Of course, to such as refuse 
to admit any real love on her part for Napoleon 
her request to see the boy must appear inex- 
phcable unless prompted by mere curiosity. 
But if we believe (as it seems impossible not 
to believe) that she did bear, in her later life, 
enduring love of a kind toward the man with 
whom she had lived so long, her desire to see 
his son, the crown of her sacrifice, is surely very 
natural. And as regards her outburst of affec- 
tion toward him at Bagatelle, it is what we 
should expect of a woman who always showed 

Josephine and Napoleon's Sons 579 

such delight in the young. If children pleased her, 
how should not the child of Napoleon do so ? 

As a matter of fact, she not only was ready 
to love the King of Rome, but also another 
son of the Emperor, the little Walewski who was 
born in Poland in May 1810. Marie Walewska 
had brought to Paris the fruit of Napoleon's 
infatuation for her and had 5delded to Jose- 
phine's pressing invitations to visit Malmaison 
with her boy. The future Count Colonna 
Walewski, Minister of Napoleon III., made a 
conquest of the soft heart of Josephine, who 
had toys for him as for her own grandsons. The 
mother, too, was in her good graces and con- 
tinued to visit Malmaison down to the time of 
its mistress's death. It was singular, perhaps, 
that Josephine should display not only no 
resentment but even a liking for the woman 
who had, however much against her own will, 
robbed her of some of the affection of Napoleon. 
But it was at least characteristic of her to 
forgive such injuries, for had she not taken into 
favour Mme. Duchatel, who had caused her 
so much anxiety in 1804, and had she not still 
in her service Mme. Gazzani, who had set the 
whole Court talking in 1807 ? 



WHILE Napoleon, accompanied by Marie- 
Louise, went to Dresden to meet his 
vassals before beginning the march into Russia, 
Josephine paid a short visit to Hortense and 
her two children at Saint-Leu. A letter re- 
mains in which she expresses her pleasure at the 
time thus spent. It is dated Malmaison, June i, 
1812, and begins as foUows : 

" My sweetest task on arriving here, my dear 
daughter, is to tell you how enchanted I have 
been with my stay at Saint-Leu. I regret not 
having known that your departure would be 
delayed. I also would have postponed my 
return in order to be a longer time with yo\i 
and your children. The few days which I 
spent with you were for me a season of happiness 
and have done me much good. All who come 
to see me find that I have never looked better, 
and I am not astonished. My health always 


Josephine and her Grandchildren 581 

depends on the impressions I have received, 
and all with you were sweet and happy." 

Eugene, she adds, was very anxious that 
she should go to spend some weeks at Milan 
with his wife. He had, in fact, already asked 
her to do so while he was in Paris waiting to 
receive instructions concerning his part in the 
campaign against Russia. Only Napoleon's 
permission was required, and this came in a letter 
dated from Gubin, June 20. After making 
the necessary preparations, Josephine was ready 
to set out from Malmaison when suddenly 
bad news arrived from Aix-la-Chapelle, where 
Hortense now was with her children. Napoleon- 
Louis had caught scarlatina, and his mother 
was much alarmed. Had not a reassuring letter 
followed almost immediately, Josephine would 
have abandoned her Italian trip. " It would be 
impossible for me to go if the least fear remained 
in my mind," she writes on July 13, and on the 
15th : " I am glad to think that there is no 
more ground for fear, and in reliance on this 
I will delay my journey no longer. I shall 
go to-morrow, the i6th, and perhaps I shall 
hear again before I leave." 

Josephine went to meet a new set of grand- 

582 The Empress Josephine 

children at Milan, where she arrived on the 
28th. Her description of the family to Hor- 
tense is so graphic that there need be no excuse 
for quoting her words : 

" Here I am at last at Milan. The pleasure 
of seeing Augusta has revived me. Her health 
is very good, and her pregnancy is far advanced. 
I am with her at the Villa Bonaparte ; I have 
Eugene's rooms. You can imagine all the 
pleasure it gave me to make the acquaintance 
of his little family. Your nephew is very 
strong, an infant Hercules. His sisters are 
extremely pretty. The elder is a beauty ; she 
resembles her mother in the height of her 
forehead. The younger has a lively and clever 
face ; she will be very pretty." 

Only three days after Josephine's arrival 
there was a fourth grandchild, the future Empress 
Amelie of Brazil. Augusta, writes Josephine 
the same day, " is perfectly well, and her 
daughter is superb, fuU of strength and health." 
On August 4 again she says : " She is charming, 
and, so far from being tired after child-birth, 
I find her more beautiful and fresh than I have 
ever seen her. Her children are superb ; the 
eldest girl, especially, is remarkable." She 

Aix'IeS'Bains 583 

was most obviously delighted alike with the 
family and the mother, of whose " tender love 
for Eugene she saw constant proofs, which were 
a great joy to her." Her own health, how- 
ever, was poor, and she was anxious to visit 
Aix-les-Bains before returning to Malmaison. 
But for the presence there of Madame Mere, 
Pauline, and Cardinal Fesch — the oddly assorted 
but mutually loyal trio, the austere old mother, 
her beautiful and immoral daughter, and her 
scheming priestly half-brother — Josephine 
would have left Milan for Aix early in August 
instead of remaining until the end of the month. 
When she arrived she found Juhe, Queen of 
Spain, with whom she was on good terms, and 
her sister — once Desiree Clary, the rich Mar- 
seilles merchant's daughter whom Joseph Bona- 
parte had so much desired Napoleon to marry, 
and who was now, as wife of Bernadotte, 
Princess Royal of Sweden. Both were very kind 
to her, she says, and after their departure and 
the approach of colder weather she left Aix and 
paid a visit to her own chateau of Pregny. 
" I regret that you are not here with me," she 
writes to Hortense on October 2, a few days 
after her arrival. ' The weather is very fine. 

5^4 The Empress Josephine 

The views of the Lake and of Mont Blanc are 
magnificent. It only wants you at Pregny to 
appreciate with delight the full charm of a quiet 

In spite of Hortense's absence, in spite also 
of the small comfort and deficient furniture 
of the house, Josephine thoroughly enjoyed her 
few weeks at Pregny. The Genevans found 
her interesting, amusing, distracting, if their 
simplicity was rather upset by the manner of 
life which she introduced in their midst. She 
gave dinners and receptions, refused to see no 
one who came to call upon her nor to go any- 
where she was invited. If she could not re- 
member many who claimed acquaintance with 
her, it made no difference ; she had met so 
many people in her life that she could well be 
excused for lapses of memory. Her costumes 
were marvellous. At a baU she appeared in a 
lace-flounced and silver-embroidered gown of 
pink crepe, cut low so as to show to full advan- 
tage her necklet of large pearls worth about 
one hundred thousand francs, while across 
her forehead, round her neck, and among her 
hair, dressed d la Chinoise, ran bands of silver. 
Her associates, although they could not imitate 

Josephine at Geneva 585 

her magnificence, at least spent thought upon 
then: toilets. It was the least they could do. 
She asked so little of them, except that they 
should help her to be amused. She made no 
insistence upon her rank of Empress, and 
etiquette was banished. She took her pla,ce 
at the card-table with the rest, and there was 
no hesitation about playing in her presence 
blind-man's buff and the like foolish games 
which fifty years later brought unjustly harsh 
reproach upon the Monday evening entertain- 
ments at the Tuileries under Napoleon III. and 
the Empress Eugenie. 

On October 21 the " quiet life " at Pregjiy 
came to an end, and Josephine returned to Mal- 
maison, taking with her as a memorial of her 
visit to Switzerland a shepherd and shepherdess 
to live in the park and look after her Swiss cattle. 
She arrived at an exciting time. The madman 
Malet had escaped from his asylum and by 
means of forged letters from the Senate had 
seized Savary, Minister of Pohce. Before he 
could be captured with two other conspirators, 
he had spread the news that Napoleon had 
died in Russia. Josephine, as appears from a 
letter to Eugene, reached Paris the day after 

586 The Empress Josephine 

his arrest. " If there had been the least danger 
for the King of Rome and the Empress," she 
says, " I do not know if I should have done 
right, but very certainly I should have followed 
my first impulse and should have gone, with 
my daughter, to bear them company." 

The apparition of Josephine at the reigning 
Empress's Court, had she " followed her first 
impulse," would probably have caused intense 
astonishment ; but Hortense at least was 
already well known there, having been accepted 
by Marie-Louise with more friendliness than 
she accorded to any of the Bonaparte family. 
" I feel an unbounded gratitude to her [Marie- 
Louise] for the friendship which she shows 
you," says Josephine in an undated letter from 
Malmaison to her daughter at this period. 

Malet's attempt was fortunately frustrated 
without much difficulty and the mad conspiracy 
nipped in the early bud. The report of Napo- 
leon's death, however, had caused a panic which 
was much increased by . the knowledge that 
treason was about. Still greater would it have 
been had any one known, except the traitors 
themselves, how widespread was that treason. 
Josephine's own Household, little as she was 

Treason 587 

aware of it, reeked of it. Her preference for 
the people of the old rigime had surrounded 
her with former imigrSs and ci-devants, men and 
women, many of whom only looked forward 
to the restoration of the Bourbons, and among 
them, especially among the women, Talleyrand 
had his agents, as he had everywhere else.^ All 
was steadily preparing for the end which the 
arch-plotter had in view, and Napoleon's pre- 
cipitate home-coming to Paris on December 18 
was not a moment too soon. 

Napoleon's return after the first campaign 
in which he could not conceal a serious defeat, 
while it restored confidence to a certain extent, 
could not banish doubt. Josephine, always 
a prey to irrational superstitions, noted with 
alarm the date of New Year's Day, Friday, 
January i, 1813. " Have you remarked that 
the year begins on a Friday and it is i8/j ? " 
she asked. " It is a sign of great misfortunes." 
Her surroundings were not such as to relieve 
her mind of terrors of this kind. With the 
Emperor back in Paris, Malmaison ceased to be 
the fashionable resort. The real Court again 

1 M. Masson, " Josephine R6pudi6e," 285 ff., goes into 
this matter in detail. 

588 The Empress Josephine 

took the place which in his absence it was in 
danger of losing through Marie-Louise's failure 
to please ; and the older Empress was conse- 
quently deserted in comparison with her rival. 
It was not allowed by etiquette that any one 
should be received by Josephine who had not 
first been to the Tuileries. The Duchesse de 
Reggio, Oudinot's second wife, illustrates this 
in her account of her first visit to Malmaison 
with her husband. " The graciousness with 
which the Empress Josephine received me," 
she says, " surpassed all my expectations. 
After having made me sit by her on her sofa, she 
addressed to me the crowd of kind and affection- 
ate questions which put heart into a timid 
young woman whom one wishes to encourage. 
She was holding a spray of white camellia, a 
new product of her magnificent hothouses. 
She gave it to me with an infinite grace. I 
took it, much moved, half-rising from my seat, 
and the Marshal, who followed all with his eyes, 
told me later that he was satisfied with the way 
in which this little scene passed. ' Have you 
been presented ? ' Josephine asked me ; and 
I felt that I blushed as I answered, ' Yes, 
madame.' ' To the Emperor and — the Em- 

A Compensation 589 

press ? ' she went on. And I felt that I 
blushed more foolishly still as I answered this 
second question with a second * Yes, madame.' 
Soon after the Empress rose and went to find 
the Marshal, who was engaged in conversation 
at the end of the room. She had not seen him 
for two years. He complimented her on her 
appearance of good health. ' Yes,' she replied 
with a sweet, resigned air and a melancholy 
smile, ' that is my compensation for being no 
longer reigning Empress ! ' " 

The Emperor's departure again in April gave 
visitors to Malmaison greater freedom, but it 
also drew away from Paris all the men who 
were to share in his great effort to repair the 
disaster of the retreat from Moscow. Josephine's 
chief consolation in this gloomy year was the 
prolonged stay with her of Hortense's two 
children. She went to Saint-Leu to fetch them 
in May, and they were still with her in August. 
Her letters to Hortense, who was spending the 
summer at Aix-les-Bains, are full of them and 
their endearing ways. But she was not spoiling 
them, she hastened to assure their mother. 
" Be quite easy about them. Your instructions 
about their diet and their studies are followed 

59° The Empress Josephine 

exactly. When they have worked well during 
the week, I have them to breakfast and dinner 
with me on Sunday. What proves that they 
are well is that every one finds that they have 
grown." When Hortense returned to take 
the children to Dieppe, we may be sure that 
Josephine shed many tears at losing them. 

In the vast struggle between Napoleon and 
all Europe the history of Josephine to a great 
extent fades from the view. Mentions of her 
are few and the little which survives of her 
correspondence is without importance. She 
lived on at Malmaison in the midst of her 
diminished Court, her flowers and animals — 
and her debts. It is singular that the last letter 
from Napoleon to Josephine which Queen 
Hortense includes in her collection deals with 
the subject of her expenditure. The letter was 
written at 8 a.m. on some Friday in 1813, 
presumably later than Napoleon's return to 
France after Leipzig, and runs : 

" I send to inquire how you are, for Hortense 
has told me that you were in bed yesterday. 
I was angry with you about your debts. I do not 
wish you to have any ; on the contrary, I hope 
that you will put by a million every year to 

Praise for Louis 591 

give to your grandchildren when they marry. 
However, never doubt my friendship for you 
and give yourself no concern on this point. 
Farewell, mon amie. Tell me that you are 
well. They say you are getting as stout as a 
good farmer's wife from Normandy. 

" Napoleon." 

In the almost total absence of any corre- 
spondence to enlighten us, it is impossible to 
say how far Josephine comprehended the mean- 
ing of the struggle of 1813 and how its incidents 
affected her. A letter remains which she wrote 
to Hortense on hearing of Louis Bonaparte 
rallying to the Emperor in November. The 
Remusats had dined with her at Malmaison, 
she teUs, and informed her that Louis had 
written to his brother, saying that he asked 
nothing better than to be with him at the 
moment of his misfortune. To Josephine his 
conduct appears very praiseworthy, but Louis's 
return makes her fear fresh tortures for Hortense, 
and she is afflicted by the thought. " Courage, 
my dear daughter ; a soul as pure as yours always 
in the end triumphs over all." Hortense in her 
reply shows herself forgiving to her husband. 

59^ The Empress Josephine 

" He is a good Frenchman," she says. " He 
proves it by returning to France at a moment 
when all Europe declares itself against her. 
He is an upright man, and if our characters 
could not be sympathetic it is because we had 
faults which could not exist together." 

In her November letter Josephine speaks 
also of Eugene's successful retreat before the 
Austrian forces. She was destined to feel some 
anxiety about Eugene before the end of the 
war. The Viceroy of Italy had received over- 
tures from his father-in-law, the King of 
Bavaria, inviting him, in decently veiled lan- 
guage, to betray Napoleon, as Joachim Murat 
had already done at Naples, on the under- 
standing that his family should be assured an 
advantageous position in Italy. Eugene, who 
was loyally supported by Augusta, rejected the 
suggestion and proudly declared his conviction 
(did he feel it ?) that King Maximilian- Joseph 
would prefer to see his son-in-law an honourable 
nobody than a traitor king. The only dealings 
which he would have with the Allies were on 
the subject of leaving his wife, who was ex- 
pecting another child, at Milan in the event of 
his evacuating Italy. 

Eugene wrongly Suspected 593 

Eugene displayed, in fact, the utmost faith- 
fulness to his trust. Unfortunately, as had 
always been the case, his intelligence was not 
equal to his loyalty, and the indecision which 
he showed in command of the Italian troops 
caused Napoleon, embittered by the conduct of 
Bern ado tte and Murat, and merely knowing 
that the Viceroy was in communication with 
the enemy, to suspect his step-son of thinking 
of his own interests and inclining to make 
arrangements with the Allies. He took, there- 
fore, a curious step, in view of his usual attitude 
toward the interference of women in political 
afiairs. Instead of appealing to Eugene directly, 
he wrote to Josephine and Hortense asking them 
to urge Eugene to carry out his orders. Con- 
sequently we find Josephine writing to her son, 
under the date of Malmaison, February 9, 1814 : 

" Do not lose an instant, my dear Eugene ; 
whatever the obstacles, redouble your efforts 
to fulfil the orders given you by the Emperor. 
He has just written to me on the subject. His 
wish is that you should march toward the Alps, 
leaving in Mantua and the Italian fortresses 
only the troops belonging to the Kingdom of 
Italy. His letter finishes with these words : 

VOL. II 17 

594 The Empress Josephine 

' France before all ! France has need of all 
her sons ! ' Come then, my dear son, hasten. 
Your zeal will never be of more use to the 
Emperor. I can assure you that every moment 
is precious. I know that yovir wife was pre- 
paring to leave Milan. Tell me if I can be of 
service to her. Good-bye, my dear Eugene, I 
have no more time except to embrace you and 
to teU you again to come very quickly." 

Eugene was profoundly hurt. His mother's 
letter had confounded him, he replied, and he 
had not thought it would be necessary at this 
late stage to give proofs to the Emperor of his 
fidelity and devotion. He had received no posi- 
tive orders to retire to the Alps, and he had 
thought himself within his rights in remaining 
in Italy. An animated correspondence fol- 
lowed between him and Augusta on the one 
hand, and the Emperor on the other,^ in which 
the Emperor certainly did not have the best of 
it, although he was at pains to put himself right 
in their eyes, insisting that what he had desired 
was that Augusta's child should be born in the 
midst of her family in France and making no 
mention of any doubts about Eugene, On the 

1 It is set forth in Eugene's " Memoires," vol. x. 

Josephine's Anxiety 595 

contrary, he wrote to the latter : " I paid you no 
compliment [on your reply to the King of 
Bavaria] because you only did your duty, and 
it is a simple matter." 

If we were to judge by the remains of her 
correspondence — which woTild be unfair, seeing 
how fragmentary it is — we should imagine 
that Josephine was chiefly concerned about 
Eugene's retention of his position in Italy, 
whatever else might occur. " I am con- 
vinced that the Emperor will cede Italy," she 
writes to Hortense, " but, no matter what 
happens, our dear Eugene will have won a fine 
reputation, and that is the chief thing." Her 
anxiety for her son was natural ; but there were 
other things going on around her which might 
profitably have employed her attention. As the 
AlUes gradually forced their way toward Paris, 
the conspiracy, within the city grew stronger 
under the direction of Talleyrand, " assuredly 
the greatest enemy of our house," as Napoleon 
wrote to his brother Joseph. And at Malmaison 
was one of the " laboratories of treason," as 
M. Masson says.^ In the collection of former 

^ " Josephine Repudiee," 321, where he gives a list of the 
traitors in Josephine^s Household. See also ib. 328. 

59^ The Empress Josephine 

Royalists and aristocrats with whom the mis- 
tress had dehghted to surround herself no 
feelings of gratitude toward the Empire acted 
as a restraint, and Josephine's dearest friend, 
Mme. de Remusat, was among the plotters. 
Josephine was ignorant of all that was taking 
place, no doubt. But was it not probable that, 
if she had been less acutely anxious about the 
future of her own immediate family, she might 
have been able to supervise the doings of her 
Household ? 

The approach of war toward the walls of 
Paris, however, deprived her of all power of 
reflection, and there was no one to advise her 
loyally. She thought of going to join the 
Emperor, as previously she had thought of 
flying to Marie-Louise. But she did not move. 
She sat with her ladies at Malmaison, making 
bandages for the wounded like the other 
Empress's Court. All visitors from Paris were 
eagerly questioned by her, as if she were hkely 
to get information of importance from them, 
" She asked inconsequent questions," say^ Mile. 
Ducrest, " and made no answers to the questions 
addressed to her ; her whole mind was de- 
ranged and her eyes were wet with tears." 

Malmaison Abandoned 597 

The end was now at hand. The Allied Armies 
were within a few days of Paris. The Empress 
Marie-Louise and the King of Rome, by the 
decision of the Council of State and the Em- 
peror's own orders, were on the point of leaving 
for Blois. Hortense, who had been ordered to 
accompany the Court, wrote to her mother 
announcing the news. Josephine's despairing 
reply, sent from Malmaison in March 28, was 
as follows : 

" My dear Hortense, I had courage up to the 
moment when I received your letter. I cannot 
think without anguish that I am separating 
myself from you, God knows for how long a 
time. I am following your advice ; I shall 
leave to-morrow for Navarre. I have here only 
a guard of sixteen men, and all are wounded. 
I win keep them, but really I have no need of 
them. I am so unhappy at being separated 
from my children that I am indifferent to my 
fate. I am troubled only about you. Try to 
send me news, to keep me informed of your 
plans, and to tell me whither you go. I shall at 
least try to follow you from afar. Good-bye, 
my dear daughter ; I embrace you tenderly." 

On the following morning, which was wet and 

59^ The Empress Josephine 

cold, Josephine set out from Malmaison with 
her Household and all that she could take with 
her from Malmaison. In ready money she had 
little over fifty thousand francs, collected from 
Hortense and the Duchesse d'Arenberg. In a 
wadded petticoat were sewn her most valuable 
diamonds and pearls, her jewellery cases were 
loaded in her carriage with other objects dear 
to her heart. Would she ever see Malmaison 
again ? She passed the two days of the journey 
in misery. At one point, according to a story 
told by the Duchesse d'Abrantes, a servant 
caught sight of a few horsemen and cried out, 
" The Cossacks ! " Josephine opened her 
carriage-door, sprang out, and started to run. 
Her followers caught her up, and at last, after 
swearing to her that there was not a Cossack in 
sight, persuaded her to return to her seat. 

Another letter to Hortense was written on the 
morrow of Josephine's arrival at Navarre. It 
is the last in the Queen's collection. 

" I cannot tellyou how unhappy I am," says 
Josephine after announcing her arrival. " I 
have had courage in the painful positions in 
which I have found myself, I shall have it to 
bear the reverses of fortune ; but I have not 

A Curious Point 599 

sufficient to put up with my children's absence 
and the uncertainty of their fate. For two 
days I have not ceased to shed tears. Send 
me news of yourself and of your children ; if you 
have any of Eugene and his family, let me hear. 
I very much fear no news will come from Paris, 
seeing that the post from Paris to Evreux has 
broken down — ^which has led to the circulation 
of a lot of news. Among other things, it is 
asserted that the Neuilly bridge has been 
occupied by the enemy. This would be very 
near ta Malmaison. ..." 

In these last surviving letters of Josephine 
there is a curious lack of reference to Napoleon. 
They are full of love for her children and her 
grandchildren. That of March 31 betrays 
anxiety for the fate of Malmaison. Of the 
Emperor there is not a word. We hear from 
other sources that Josephine had expressed a 
wish to go to the Emperor to sustain him (!) 
in his hour of trial, but from her letters to 
Hortense one would not gather that she felt 
any concern for his fate. 



SCARCELY had Josephine settled herself 
at Navarre with such members of her 
Household as did not prefer to remain in Paris 
to greet the Allied Armies' arrival, when a letter 
came from Hortense to the effect that Paris had 
capit^jMed and that the Emperor was at Fon- 
tainebleau. On April i Hortense herself ap- 
peared at Navarre. Offended by an order from 
the Empress Regent, which reached her at 
Rambouillet on March 31, to come with her 
children to Blois, the Queen of Holland had 
changed her mind and refused to go to Blois. 
Marie-Louise's order had been brought by 
Louis Bonaparte's messenger and had both 
hurt Hortense' s susceptibilities and aroused 
her suspicions. She sent back a refusal to obey, 
cut herself off from the Court, and started for 
her mother's estate, taking her two sons with 
her. At Navarre she found awaiting her a 


At Navarre 60 1 

cold reception from the Household, who never 
appreciated the etiquette which always envel- 
oped the Queen of Holland ; but from Josephine 
a most loving welcome. " The pleasure of 
embracing her daughter and grandchildren," 
writes MUe. Cochelet, who accompanied Hor- 
tense, " was a great consolation to the Empress 
Josephine, who was tortured inexpressibly about 
the Emperor's fate." Hortense's faithful fol- 
lower continues : " What days were this Satur- 
day and Sunday ! All that had been most 
brilliant among us at Paris was at Navarre : 
the Duchesse de Bassano, who arrived there 
with her children and her sisters, on her way to 
Alengon ; Mme. MoUien, so fondly attached to 
the Queen, who had gone from her own home 
to the Empress Marie-Louise and was already 
returning from Blois, where she had left her 
husband ; Mme. Gazzani, tearful and still 
beautiful. And all without a man, without a 
notion what to do ! " 

Josephine lodged her daughter in the smaller 
chateau, which from April 1810 had been 
assigned to her whenever she should be able to 
visit Navarre. She herself stopped in the larger 
building, waiting for the arrival of tidings which 

6oa The Empress Josephine 

she knew could only be bad and racking herself 
by reading all the newspapers on which she 
could lay hands. In her letter to General 
Caffarelli's wife, written on April 7, she says : 
" I reached here on the 30th and the Queen two 
days later, with her children. She, too, is ill 
and as painfully affected as I am. Our hearts 
are broken at all that is happening, and par- 
ticularly at the ingratitude of the French. The 
papers are full of the most horrible abuse. If 
you have not read them, do not take the trouble, 
for they will hurt you." 

The order of events during the early days of 
April 1814 is rather uncertain, the various 
accounts conflicting. As far as can be gathered, 
the intelligence of the Emperor's abdication 
came with dramatic suddenness. It was night, 
and all at Navarre were fast asleep, when the 
sound of a carriage and horses was heard coming 
up the avenue and approaching the building. 
The carriage stopped in the courtyard, and a 
few minutes later there was a knock at the 
Empress's door. Josephine rose and hastily 
put on a dressing-gown. She found that her 
visitor was M. de Maussion, auditor to the 
Council of State, who had been sent by the 

News of the Abdication 603 

Due de Bassano to convey to his Duchess in- 
formation of the abdication, and who had 
turned aside from his road to inform the Empress. 
At first Josephine failed to take in the news, and 
could only understand that it was a disaster 
of which she was being told. But the Emperor 
was alive ? She made the messenger repeat 
his assurance that this was so. At last she took 
a candle and asked Maussion to come with her 
to Queen Hortense, who had already awoken 
and was eagerly awaiting them. Maussion 
again told his tale, and now Josephine under- 
stood that the Empire had fallen, that the 
Bourbons were back, and that Napoleon was 
going into exile. According to Mile. Cochelet, 
the name of Elba was already mentioned. " I 
shall never forget the Empress's exclamation," 
she writes, " when M. de Maussion related that 
the Emperor was going to the island of Elba. 
* Oh, Hortense,' she cried, bending over her 
daughter, ' what misery for him, confined to 
the island of Elba ! Oh, were it not for his wife, 
I would go and shut myself up with him ! ' 
We all were in tears at the sight of the anguish 
of the poor woman who had already suffered 
so much," Mile. Cochelet, however, naturally 

6o4 The Empress Josephine 

pays more attention to the feehngs of her mis- 
tress the Queen than to those of Josephine, and 
relates how Hortense made up her mind that 
she must leave France. " My mother can stay 
in France, since her divorce leaves her free, but 
I bear a name which makes residence here 
impossible now that the Bourbons are back." 
Her plan was to sell her diamonds and to go to 
Martinique to Uve on the estate now belonging 
to Josephine at Trois-Ilets. " It will be a great 
sacrifice, of course, to le^ve France, my mother, 
and my friends, but there I shall be in peace. 
I shall bring up my children well, and that will 
be my consolation." The resolve was heroic, 
but for the moment Hortense was fully deter- 
mined to put it into execution. We do not 
hear how Josephine received the news, nor how 
she and her daughter passed the next few days, 
except that at the end of a letter affirming her 
determination not to go to Malmaison Hortense 
says: "My mother combats all my plans and 
tells me that she has need of me." This was 
written to Mile. Cochelet, whom she had sent to 
Paris to make preparations to accompany her 
to Martinique. 
On March i6 the " Journal des Debats " made 

Return to Malmaison 605 

the announcement that " the mother of Prince 
Eugene has returned to Malmaison." ^ It was 
true. Mile. Cochelet had found in Paris, es- 
pecially among the Russians^ a desire that the 
Beauharnais ladies should come back to Mal- 
maison at once. Josephine needed no encour- 
agement to bring her to her beloved home. 
Already she had written to a friend in Paris 
suggesting it. But Hortense was still otherwise 
minded in spite of the flattering assurance of 
Nesselrode to MUe. Cochelet that she had nothing 
to fear and that every one was full of affection 
for her and her mother and brother. She did 
not see how she could desert the Bonapartes 
in their evil hour. The greater their misfortune, 
she told Mile. Cochelet, the more she wished to 
share it with them. Her brother would be 
happy, her mother would have her country and 
her property ; but she, for her children's sake, 

' This title, as it appeared later, was not satisfactory to 
Josephine. When the " Debats " spoke of the Tsar dining at 
Saint-Leu on May 14 with " Prince Eugene, his mother and 
sister," she complained : " Can they not speak of me with 
a little more respect ? Must I thus follow after my son ? It 
is most unsuitable. I have a name, I was on the throne, I 
was crowned and consecrated. The Emperor Alexander has 
specially protected me ; as soon as he was master of the 
Neuilly bridge he sent me a safeguard to Malmaison. Why 
theii call me ' the mother of Prince Eugtae ' ? " 

6o6 The Empress Josephine 

must go into exile. The pressure redoubled. 
Constant messages came from Nesselrode, with 
promises of a visit from the Tsar Alexander if 
only she would go to Malmaison. It was even 
intimated that Napoleon himself wished her to 
go thither, and that her children's future, in his 
opinion, depended on it. But Hortense was 
unconvinced. She set out again for Rambouillet, 
where Marie-Louise now was. " The advice of 
the Due de Vicence [who had brought Napoleon's 
alleged message] can be followed by my mother," 
she said. " She will go to Malmaison, but I 
stay ; I have only too good reasons. I cannot 
separate my cause from that of my children." 

Josephine, therefore, left Navarre without 
her daughter. She had already departed when 
a message from the Due de Berry arrived, 
offering her an escort to Malmaison and assuring 
her that he would be charmed to do all that 
might be agreeable for her, having for her " as 
much respect as admiration." The humiliation 
of accepting this offer was spared her, and she 
reached Malmaison without a Royalist guard 
of honour. 

The desire which Alexander of Russia had 
expressed, through Nesselrode, of seeing Jose- 

From ail engraving after Wolkoff. 

p. 606. 

Josephine and the Tsar 607 

phine and Hortense in Paris was genuine, as 
he lost no time in showing. A message reached 
Malmaison on the day of its mistress's arrival 
that the Tsar would pay a call on the morrow. 
He came in the afternoon and from the begin- 
ning showed the greatest deference. Alexander 
was at this time thirty-five years of age and 
hardly looked as old, although his golden hair 
had begun to recede from his high forehead. 
His sky-blue eyes, rather short-sighted, were full 
of amiability, and a benevolent smile was 
habitual on his lips. His attentive courtesy 
to ladies was well known, and when he exerted 
himself he could not fail to please. At Mal- 
maison he succeeded at once. Josephine fell 
under the speU of his kindly personaUty, and 
in her turn appeared to make a most favourable 
impression. This first call gave the note to 
their future intercourse. The same was not 
the case with Hortense, who arrived quite un- 
expectedly at Malmaison on the day of the 
Tsar's visit. After Josephine's departure from 
Navarre she had gone to Rambouillet, in a fit 
of contrition for her disobedience to the Em- 
press's recent order, and had offered her services 
to Marie-Louise. But the latter had received 

6o8 The Empress Josephine 

her with chilly thanks and an air of embarrass- 
ment, unable to respond to Hortense's generous 
expressions of loyalty to the fallen cause. 
Seeing that she was not wanted at Rambouillet, 
and beginning to see that her departure to 
Martinique might not be pleasing to Napoleon, 
Hortense determined to rejoin her mother. On 
her meeting with Alexander, however, she 
showed none of Josephine's friendliness. " So 
amiable ordinarily," says Mile. Cochelet, " she 
scarcely showed herself so to him. She remained 
cold and very dignified, and made no response 
to the offers which the Emperor made to her 
with regard to her children." 

Alexander, however, was sincere in his pro- 
fessions toward mother and daughter, and, 
undeterred by Hortense's first reception of 
him, while delighted with Josephine's " ami- 
ability, kindness, and unconstraint," asked to 
be allowed to call again. Josephine gave her 
permission gladly, for which, and for her general 
attitude toward Alexander, she has been 
severely taken to task by many Bonapartist 
writers. In the circumstances in which she 
was placed her behaviour was at least excusable. 
She was indeed " the mother of Prince Eugene " 

Inconsistent Critics 609 

and of Hortense, as well as the discarded wife 
of Napoleon Bonaparte. Eugene's loyal con- 
duct alone, perhaps, would have been sufficient 
to induce the Allies to treat him favourably, 
and Hortense had, if she chose to accept it, 
the sympathy of Europe. Nevertheless, their 
mother may be pardoned for her anxiety that 
they should come well out of the rearrangement 
following the Empire's fall. Her eagerness 
about her own interests, and particularly about 
Malmaison, was less admirable. Yet, since her 
critics condemn her selfishness on every occasion, 
it is somewhat surprising that they should not 
now dismiss it as merely natural. She was 
undoubtedly fearful lest she might be separated 
from the home, the treasures, and the life of 
ease which she loved so well. That she shoiild 
make what efforts she could to retain them was 
all that could be expected of her, unless adver- 
sity was to make of her an entirely different 
character and turn a pleasure-loving and self- 
indulgent woman into a dignified and self- 
denying heroine, who, in order to secure for 
herself a future of lonely exile (since by no means 
would she have been able to accompany the 
ex-Emperor to Elba, was ready to refuse all 
VOL. II 18 

6io The Empress Josephine 

terms from the conquerors of France. It is a 
blow to Napoleon's thick-and-thin supporters 
that she who had once been his wife should seem 
to forget his past generosity to her and her 
family ; ^ but is their attitude reasonable ? 
Certainly not, on their estimate of her char- 

At the same time, it is true that the world 
would have reason to think better of Josephine 
had she thought less of her own position at 
Malmaison ; had she refrained from complain- 
ing, as MUe. Ducrest says that she complained, 
that Napoleon neglected to see that she was 
paid the pension which he assigned her ; and 
had she not desired to write to the Royalist 
Government asking for the title of Constable of 
France for Eugene, and, perhaps, of Duchesse 
de Navarre for herself. 

The Tsar Alexander quickly availed himself 
of the permission to caU again at Malmaison. 

1 This generosity lasted to the end. By the treaty signed at 
Fontainebleau (which, as M. Masson says, is really Napoleon's 
will) he assigned to Josephine a pension of a million francs a 
vear ; and, out of 2,500,000 assigned by Article 6 to the 
Imperial family, 400,000 to Hortense. Joseph and Jerome 
were to have 500,000 each ; Madame M6re, Elisa, and Pauline, 
300,000 each ; Louis, 200,000 ; and EugSne un itablissement 
convenahle hors de France. 

Society'' at Malmaison 6 1 1 

He was followed by the King of Prussia and 
his two sons, by other German princes from 
Baden, Bavaria, Mecklenburg, and by crowds 
of visitors of all nationahties. If the Duchesse 
de Reggio is to be believed, even the Comte 
d'Artois was seen at Malmaison. The Emperor 
of Austria, it was said, felt embarrassed at the 
idea of calling ; but Josephine remarked : 
" Why, indeed ? Not at all ! It is not I whom 
he has dethroned, but his own daughter." 

On May 9 Eugene arrived in Paris from 
Munich, whither he had gone after leaving 
Italy, and the Beauharnais family were united 
again. They found that Nesselrode's assur- 
ances to Mile. Cochelet about the feeling in 
Paris toward them were scarcely exaggerated. 
Eugene was well received by the Bourbons, 
Hortense was offered and accepted the Duchy 
of Saint-Leu, and French visitors, as soon as 
they saw that it was the desire of the Court, 
went like the rest of the world to Malmaison, 
which had never seen so varied and brilliant a 
society since 1809. In May 1814 Josephine 
might almost have imagined herself Empress 
again, did she judge only by the crowds throng- 
ing her rooms. 

6i2 The Empress Josephine 

None who came to the chateau were more 
warmly welcomed than Alexander, and none 
came more often. Hortense's coldness had been 
overcome by the amiable persistence of his 
attentions ; Eugene was persuaded of his strong 
support in securing a suitable establishment 
for him in Europe ; and Josephine's liking for 
him had only increased since the first day of 
their meeting.' He had become a genuine 
friend of the family and could be seen frequently 
walking in the park at Malmaison with the 
mother on one arm, the daughter on the other. 
Might he not also see Saint-Leu ? he asked. 
Hortense was delighted. " Your Majesty must 
not expect to see a royal residence," said 
Josephine. " Saint-Leu is only the simple 
home of a woman of the world, and Your 
Majesty must be prepared to make every allow- 
ance for the modest reception which he will 
get." On this understanding, which in no way 
dismayed the Tsar, a man of rather simple 
tastes, it was arranged that the visit should be 
paid on May 14. From this day dates the fatal 
illness of Josephine. 

When the 14th arrived, Josephine was already 
feeling the effects of a cold, but she declared 

Illness and Depression 613 

that she never paid attention to such things, 
and after the mid-day breakfast she drove out 
with the Tsar, Horterise, Eugene, the Due de 
Vicence, Mme. Ney, and two other ladies in a 
char-d-banc to visit the neighbouring woods of 
Montmorency. The weather was dahip, and 
Josephine felt worse on her return to the house. 
She took an infusion of the orange-flower water 
which Napoleon had taught her to use and lay 
down until dinner-time. To Mile. Cochelet 
she confessed that she was suffering from a 
frightful melancholy, which it took her all her 
efforts to disguise from her children ; she could 
not get rid of the idea that they would never 
see fulfilled the promises which were made to 
them. " Must I again see my children wander- 
ing and destitute ? " she asked, " The idea is 
killing me ! " In spite of her indisposition she 
refused to give way, and when dinner was ready 
she came down in one of her usual light and 
low-cut dresses. Unable to eat, however, she 
retired again for a Uttle and only reappeared 
after the meal to assist Hortense and Eugene 
in entertaining. Hortense sang to the Tsar 
some of her own songs, and when he left he 
appeared very pleased with his day at Saint- 

6i4 The Empress Josephine 

Leu. Still depressed by her bodily state, 
Josephine sadly remarked that, though Alex- 
ander was charming, he was not the only master. 
" My poor children, I am very much afraid that 
you will reap nothing but fine words ! " After 
this gloomy prediction she rested in an easy- 
chair for some time before she felt well enough 
to go up to bed. 

On her return to Malmaison next day, 
Josephine received a troublesome visit from 
her old acquaintance, Mme. de Stael. Th^ 
Duchesse de Reggio, who called at Malmaison 
the same day, remarks that Mme. de Stael's 
visit was " a good action in itself, if the woman 
of genius had not been too anxious to make 
capital of it for her studies of the human 
heart." The Duchess waited outside the room 
where the meeting took place. " When the 
Empress and Mme. de Stagl appeared, we 
noticed the air of great agitation and emotion 
in the former. Mme. de Stael crossed the 
room rapidly, bowed, and went out." The 
woman of genius had not found this particular 
study of the human heart altogether satis- 
factory. For when she had gone, Josephine 
came up to the Duchess and two other guests, 

Fruiii ,in engr^^ing lifter the picture by Mile. M. E. de Godefroy. 

p. 614. 

A Last Entertainment 615 

one of whom was Mme. Walewska, still an 
occasional visitor at Malmaison, and said : 
" I have just had a very painful interview. 
Would you believe that, among other questions 
which Mme. de Stael was pleased to put to 
me, she asked if I still loved the Emperor ? 
She appeared to wish to analyse my soul in 
the presence of this great misfortune. I, who 
never ceased to love the Emperor throughout 
his happy days ... is it likely that to-day I 
should grow cold toward him ? " 

Josephine continued ailing, but would not 
hear of abandoning her social duties. A week 
after the scene described by the Duchesse de 
Reggio, she had among her guests to dinner 
at Malmaison the King of Prussia, his two 
sons, and, according to some, the Russian and 
Austrian Emperors as well. She forced her- 
self to entertain them in her usual scanty 
costume, and next morning was very much 
worse. But Alexander and the Grand Dukes 
Nicholas and Michael were dining with her 
that night, and she not only appeared at the 
table, but also at the dance after dinner opened 
the ball with the Tsar and walked out with 
him in the park. On the 25th she was still 

6i6 The Empress Josephine 

up and receiving visitors, though not really 
fit to do so. She was much upset by seeing in 
one of the papers a violent attack on Hortense 
in connection with the removal of the body 
of little Napoleon-Charles from Notre-Dame 
to one of the Paris cemeteries, and her fit of 
weeping over this did her considerable harm. 
She awoke next day with a fever and attacks 
of coughing. Her personal physician ordered 
her to stay in bed and put a blister on her 
neck. According to Lenoir, who says that he 
called at Malmaison that day, she ought to 
have been at the Tuileries to be presented to 
King Louis. His statement is unsupported, 
so that it cannot be said whether she really 
had the intention of going to the Court of the 
Bourbons as Eugene had already done. Death 
at any rate saved her memory from this re- 

Death was approaching rapidly. Alex- 
ander was to have dined with Josephine again 
on the 27th before leaving Paris for London. 
He arrived with a large number of other 
guests, including, it was said, the " English- 
man " who had known Yeyette in Martinique 
forty years before. Eugene was ill in bed 

Death 617 

like his mother, and only Hortense was able 
to be present to receive those invited, who all 
left early except the Tsar. He had already 
displayed his anxiety on the 14th and 24th, 
and now sent his own physician to see the 
patient. Hortense called in other advice and 
there was a consultation of doctors, who declared 
Josephine's condition to be grave. No im- 
mediately fatal result, however, was expected, 
although the case was stated to be one of 
" putrid fever." Eugene wrote to his wife 
hopefully and spoke of his approaching return 
to Munich. On the night of May 28 only a 
waiting-woman watched Josephine. In the 
morning, Whit Sunday, it was seen that the 
end was at hand. Eugene and Hortense came 
to the bedroom and it was decided that 
the sacraments should be administered. The 
almoner, Monseigneur Barral, being absent, 
the abbe Bertrand, who was the tutor of Hor- 
tense's children, gave them to the d5dng woman, 
" who received them," according to the words 
of the funeral oration, " with sentiments of 
the greatest piety and most touching resigna- 
tion." At noon she died. According to the 
legend, her last dehrious words were " Napoleon 

6i8 The Empress Josephine 

. . . Elba ! " ^ At the end of her collection 
of letters of Napoleon and Josephine, Queen 
Hortense says simply that Josephine " died in 
the arms of her children on May 29, 1814." 
Mile. Cochelet adds that at the last Josephine 
held out her arms to her children and tried to 
speak, but not a word could be heard. Hor- 
tense fell in a faint upon the floor and was 
carried out insensible, while Eugene knelt 
down by the bed until his mother died in his 
arms a few moments later. 

On the day following her death Josephine's 
body was embalmed and placed in a lead cofl&n 
enclosed in oak. The beautiful tresses of her hair 
had already been cut o£E by Mile. Cochelet to 
be given to Hortense. The public were now 
admitted to Malmaison, and it was estimated 
that more than twenty thousand people visited 
the place ; many, no doubt, out of mere 
curiosity to see the house and grounds. The 
funeral took place on June 2, the coffin being 

» Or " Napoleon . . . Elba . . . Marie-Louise ! " Edward 
Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, it may be noted, who visited 
Malmaison soon after Josephine's death, says that she died 
" sensible to the last ; talked of death, seemed perfectly re- 
signed — to use the words of a French lady, who told me many 
interesting particulars, sa mort itait tris chr6Uenne " (" Letters," 
p. 134). 


Photo by Neiirdin Fibres. P- 6i8. 

The Funeral 619 

taken from Malmaison to the church of Rueil 
in a procession in which the chief mourners 
were Hortense's children^ Hortense herself and 
Eugene cUnging to the Imperial etiquette which 
compelled them to be absent from the servicCj 
and remaining at Saint-Leu. Beside the two 
little boys there were present of Josephine's 
and her first husband's families the Comte 
Tascher and the Duchesse d' Arenberg (Stephanie 
Tascher), the Marquis and the Comte de Beau- 
harnais, and Mme. Lavalette (Emilie Beau- 
harnais). The Tsar Alexander was represented 
by General Sacken, the other sovereigns by 
aides-de-camp, the Prince of Mecklenburg and 
the Grand Duke of Baden were present in 
person, and a large crowd of aU natibnalities 
attended at the church. The military honours 
were furnished by a detachment of the Russian 
Imperial Guards, although the local National 
Guards took part in the procession to Rueil. 
The interment took place within the church 
itself at the spot now marked by the monument 
erected to the memory of their mother by 
Eugene and Hortense in 1825.^ The funeral 

* Josephine's tomb is on the right hand of the choir of Rueil. 
It is in white marble, the work of Gilet and Dubuc, while the 

620 The Empress Josephine 

oration by the Archbishop of Tours was not 
more interesting nor more generally truthful 
than such eulogies are wont to be, but contained 
one paragraph which deserves quotation as 
showing the attitude which the restored mon- 
archy took up toward Napoleon's former wife. 
" How many unfortunates," asked Monseigneur 
Barral, " condemned by their fidelity to 
the august family of the Bourbons to Uve in 
exile from their fatherland, are beholden to 
her persistent and touching intercession for 
their restoration to their families and to the 
country which saw their birth ? How many 
saw opened by her exertions the gates of the 
prison which imprudence and, most often, 
unjust suspicion had closed upon them ? How 
many were rescued from the axe of the law 
at the moment when it was about to cut short 
their lives ? " It was Josephine the protector 
of the emigres whom all good Royalists were 
invited to lament. 

Only little more rests to be told — the last 

kneeling figure of Josephine is by Cartellier. The inscription 
runs simply : " A Josephine, Eugtoe et Hortense, 1825." 
Hortense's tomb is in a similar position to the left of the choir 
and bears the inscription " A la Reine Hortense, son fils 
Napoleon III," 

Napoleon's Reproach 621 

tribute to Josephine of the man who made her 
his wife and his Empress. Strange and heart- 
less though such conduct seems, there is no 
evidence that any one of his family or hers 
sent to Napoleon in Elba any information of the 
death of Josephine. The news is said to have 
reached him through a copy of a paper for- 
warded to him from Genoa by a valet going 
to France on an errand from his master. When 
he heard what had happened he shut himself 
up and would see no one. He forbore from 
wearing mourning. Strict as he always was 
about etiquette, he would not put on crape 
for his divorced wife when he had another 
wife living. The opportunity for showing his 
respect occurred when, once more in Paris in 
March 1815, he sought for details of the death- 
scene. " So you let my poor Josephine die," 
he reproached Corvisart. Of her own doctor 
he asked the cause of the fatal illness. " Sire," 
stammered Horeau, " anxiety . . . sorrow. ..." 
" Do you think so ? What sorrow ? " " At 
what was happening. Sire — at Your Majesty's 
position." " Oh, so she spoke of me ? " 
" Often, very often." " Good woman, good 
Josephine ! She loved me truly." Profoundly 

622 The Empress Josephine 

touched, the Emperor insisted on hearing all 
about her last days and about those who had 
been kind to her, particularly the Tsar Alex- 
ander. A few days later he paid a short visit 
to Malmaison, spending most of the time in 
the death-chamber, where he shut himself in 
alone and whence he came out with evident 
traces of the tears which he had shed. 

Napoleon saw Malmaison once again near the 
close of the Hundred Days. On the night of 
June 24 (only one day later than the fifty- 
second anniversary of Josephine's birthday) 
he spoke during dinner at the Elysee to Hor- 
tense, who, in spite of her apparent reconciha- 
tion with the Bourbons, had returned to her 
allegiance when Napoleon escaped from Elba, 
and after some coldness on his part had been 
restored to his favour. " I wish to go to 
Malmaison," he said. " It belongs to you. 
Will you give me hospitality there ? " Hor- 
tense readily agreed, and the same evening he 
started on his way with her and a small handful 
of followers in attendance. Of the few remain- 
ing days of his life as a free man Napoleon 
was to spend five at Josephine's Malmaison. 

Late in the night of the 24th he wandered 

Napoleon at Malmaison 623 

about the park, speaking to his companions 
of his intended flight to America. On the 
morrow and during the following days^ while 
waiting to hear the decision of France and of 
her conquerors on his fate, he spent long hours 
with Hortense and others who still remained 
loyal, recalling memories of the past. The 
associations of the dead were thick about him. 
Standing before a bank of roses in her garden, 
he said : " Poor Josephine ! I cannot ac- 
custom myself to living here without her. I 
seem always to see her coming along the path 
and picking one of these flowers which she 
loved so weU. Truly she was the most graceful 
woman I have ever seen ! " ^ On the 29th at 
last the decision of the Provisional Government 
was to reach Napoleon. He still hoped that 
he might be called upon to take up arms again 
to hold back the enemy while France negotiated 
terms, after which he could retire across the 

* The firmness of his conviction on this point is illustrated 
by his remarks to Barry O'Meara at Saint-Helena : " Josephine 
was grace personified {la grazia in persona). Everything she 
did was with a peculiar grace and delicacy. I never saw her 
act inelegantly during the whole time we lived together." 
And again : " Era la dama la ptil graziosa di Francia. She 
was the goddess of the toilet, all the fashions originated with 
her ; everything she put on appeared elegant." 

624 The Empress Josephine 

Atlantic. He waited in uniform for the return 
of General Becker from Paris, while horses were 
ready outside to carry him to Paris. Hor- 
tense and his brother Joseph were with him. 
Becker arrived and announced that the Govern- 
ment would have no dealings with him. " They 
still fear me," said Napoleon to Hortense. " I 
wished to make a last effort for the safety of 
France. They would not have it ! " He went 
upstairs, changed his military costume for 
civilian clothes, and passed into Josephine's 
room, where he spent some time by himself, 
with the doors closed. Then, coming down- 
stairs, he said good-bye to Joseph and Hortense, 
got into a private carriage, and drove off to- 
wards Rochefort, 

At Malmaison a memorial was set up, with 
the mark of a footprint, a bronze eagle, and the 
words, " The last step of Napoleon leaving for 
Rochefort on June 29, 1815, at 4 in the after- 

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p. 624. 



THE story of Josephine has been brought 
to an end. It only remains for us to 
make a brief review of her principal charac- 
teristics, as they appear in the course of the 
tale, in order that we may be able to say, if 
possible, how it was that she succeeded in 
attaining a position in history to which neither 
her intellect nor any surpassing physical beauty 
gave her claims. 

That she had no such claims it would perhaps 
be hardly necessary to repeat, except to em- 
phasise the strangeness of what time and men's 
love of romance have done for a woman who 
for more than thirty out of her fifty-one years 
of life was utterly obscure. And first with 
regard to her beauty, the practical unanimity 
of observers actuated by very different personal 
feelings toward her is most striking. The 
portraits of her are innumerable, for she had 

VOL. II 62s 19 

26 T*he Empress Josephine 

an inordinate love of being painted, and sat to 
Gerard, Isabey, Prudhon, Gros, David, and 
many others, while busts and medallions abound. 
Few of these portraits give a very pleasing 
impression. When we come to the written 
descriptions, what we are apt to remember is 
the rouged and powdered face, with the close- 
lipped smile that concealed the badness of the 
teeth behind, and the wonderful elaboration of 
the chestnut hair on the top of the head. Not 
even in the earliest days of her second marriage 
are we allowed to forget that it is a carefully 
preserved woman past her prime — for she was 
a Creole and over thirty — upon whom we are 
looking. The freshness had gone, and artifice 
has come in to supply the deficiencies of nature. 
But, when this has been said, a high tribute 
has to be paid to the result which Josephine 
achieved with what remained to her. Her 
smile is always charming, in spite of the shut 
mouth ; her eyes are beautiful, if not the equal 
of her daughter's ; her nose is delicate, in great 
contrast to that of Hortense. It is, however, 
her slender, supple, well-proportioned figure, 
needing no corset to support it, which enables 
her to pose as a beauty. A most perfect self- 

Physical Charms 627 

training had developed her from the awkward, 
rather heavy girl that she was when she left 
Martinique into the most graceful woman of 
her day, Napoleon's " la grazia in persona," 
who was " graceful even as she went to bed." 
Taught by her own observation, she knew how 
to show to its fullest advantage her elegant, 
indolent body ; and knew, moreover, how to 
dress it in the clothes that became it best, the 
soft white muslins and cambrics which looked 
so simple, yet at the same time displayed a 
marvellous complexity of costly embroidery and 
lace. To complete the harmony there was her 
caressing Creole voice, so beautiful in tone that 
the Palace servants were said to halt in the 
passages to listen to it, and that Napoleon, 
wishing to express his pleasure at the applause 
of his troops and his subjects, could only say 
that it was " as sweet to him as the voice of 
his Josephine." 

To give full value to what physical advan- 
tages nature had bestowed upon her, Josephine 
devoted loving care. It was otherwise with 
her mind. Her education remained to the end 
of her life much what it had been when Alex- 
andre de Beauhamais gave her up in despair 

628 The Empress Josephine 

and abandoned the training of his wife to 
whosoever wished to undertake it. With the 
passage of time she became indeed sophisticated, 
but not better educated. At Saint-Pierre she 
had shown some aptitude for dancing and music ; 
not much for the latter after all, it would 
appear, for in later life she could do no more 
than touch the harp indifferently and, ac- 
cording to some, used only to play one tune. 
Her long leisure was at no period of her existence 
devoted to reading. There was a library at 
Malmaison, which served as Napoleon's study 
before the divorce. We never hear of Josephine 
herself reading, except to Napoleon in bed. 
She had on her staff a reader, who during the 
travels after the divorce might entertain her 
mistress and the other ladies with the latest 
novels and plays from Paris. Readers under 
the Empire were chosen more for their beauty 
than with a view that they should earn their 
salaries by reading. As for Josephine's artistic 
appreciation, what importance is to be attached 
to her enormous collection of pictures, her Old 
Masters of the Italian and Flemish schools, 
her French and Speinish painters of all periods ? 
She certainly made a wonderful gallery of 

The Collector 629 

Malmaison and wrested from Napoleon canvases 
which it cost his conscience a pang to give up 
to her. " Although these masterpieces were 
in my Palace, under my eyes, in my household," 
he once said, " it seemed to me as if I had been 
robbed, since they ought to have been in the 
Museum." But the mere accumulation of art 
treasures proves little with regard to Josephine's 
understanding. She was clearly a collector by 
nature. The interior of her chateau, the mere 
inventory of her belongings, demonstrate this. 
The great hoards of curiosities, antiques, 
jewellery, good and bad, and all that made 
Malmaison such a remarkable place to look 
upon, are witnesses to the multiplicity of her 
tastes, but hardly to her taste. There is rather 
more than a suspicion, there is practically a 
certainty, that she loved to heap up treasures 
simply because they were treasures and repre- 
sented to her the buying-power of that money 
which, from her first moment of independence, 
as soon as she escaped from the bondage of her 
first marriage, she seemed ready to sacrifice 
almost anything to obtain. No sooner had she 
met, and conquered the heart of. Napoleon 
than money began to pour upon her in a con- 

630 The Empress Josephine 

tinuous stream ; yet she never had enough, 
down to the day of her death, to satisfy her 
capacity for spending. 

Of this one reproach not even the most 
enthusiastic admirers of the Empress Josephine 
have made any serious effort to clear her 
memory. That, from the time when she es- 
caped death in the prison of Les Carmes and 
re-entered into society, she hved in the midst of 
an ever-increasing oceaii of debts, it would be 
useless to deny, and the biographers under the 
Second Empire, when the order had gone forth 
to glorify the grandmother of Napoleon III., 
evaded the difficulty merely by ignoring the 
subject as far as possible or by referring simply 
to, her extravagant charities. Later writers, 
untrammelled by the desire to please a grand- 
son, have Ufted the veil ; and, in particular, 
M. Masson in his various works on the life of 
Josephine has made most careful researches 
into her expenditure, with the result that a 
really astounding picture is presented of a 
feminine spendthrift. Simple enumerations of 
figures would not be very interesting, but some 
attempt may be made to give a brief summary. 
Napoleon on six occasions insisted on receiving 

Perpetual Debt 631 

statements of his wife's debts, tw|ce before 
the Empire and four times during it. In 1800 
he paid what she admitted that she owed — 
according to Bourrienne, 600,000 francs. (This 
did not include the debt on Malmaison nor on 
some " national property " in the canton of 
Glabbaix which Josephine had bought but 
only begun to pay for ; if we counted this in 
the amount paid off in 1800 it would be about 
2,000,000 francs.) In 1804 he paid over 
700,000 ; in 1806, 650,000 ; in 1807, 39i>ooo ; 
in 1809, 60,000 ; and finally, after the divorce, 
1,400,000 francs. These six settlements account 
for more than 3,800,000 francs. Before paying 
the biUs Napoleon was in the habit of revising 
them and reducing them, as when in the last 
liquidation he struck off 500,000 francs, as al- 
ready related. The actual bills presented may 
therefore be presumed to have been between 
four and five million francs. The principal 
item, in fact the only one of importance, was 
toilet, including jewellery. Under the Empire 
the allowance made for toilet was 360,000 francs 
a year until 1809, when it was raised to 450,000. 
On M. Masson's computation, however, Jose- 
phine's expenditure on toilet was 1,100,000 

632 The Empress Josephine 

francs a year while she was reigning Empress. 
Jewellers claimed about half of this, although 
Josephine had the right to wear all the Crown 
jewels, of which the principal diamond set was 
valued at 3,709,583 francs. Her personal 
jewellery, exclusive of a quantity of unimportant 
stuff, was reckoned at 4,354,255 francs. This 
was her greatest passion perhaps ; for even in 
her early days as Vicomtesse de Beauharnais 
she was said to carry in her pocket the stones 
included in her wedding present in order that 
she might feel them as she went about. Of 
her expenditure on dress something has already 
been said in an earlier chapter, where it has 
been indicated that an apparent simplicity of 
attire was combined with heavy expenditure 
on details. A white muslin or cambric dress, 
owing to its exquisite embroideries, might cost 
her two thousand francs. The size of her 
wardrobe was enormous. To mention only 
two items, it contained five hundred chemises 
and two hundred pairs of silk stockings. In one 
month, it was said, she bought thirty-eight 
new hats.^ Everything was new. As she 

1 M. Masson enumerates one year's purchase of clothes, 
costing more than 320,000 francs : 23 ells of lace, 7 full 

Dress Bills 633 

bought with the one hand, Josephine gave 
away with the other ; and gave away to all 
manner of people, from princesses of her own 
family, of her husband's family, or of friendly 
States, down to the waiting-women of her 
Household. It was her habit to go completely 
through her stock of clothes twice during each 
year and to renew the greater part of it. 

In vain Napoleon tried to limit the Empress's 
spending by ordering all dealers in millinery, 
jewellery, and the rest to be kept away from 
the Tuileries. They continued to penetrate 
into the Palace, behind his back, and his efforts 
to limit her custom to the leading firms were 
unavailing. After aU, discovery only entailed 
a " scene," and it is impossible to resist the 
thought that Josephine's terror at scenes 
was largely assumed. She never showed the 
slightest effort toward reformation after their 
occurrence. On each occasion of Napoleon's 
demand for her bills there was a great display 
of fear on the part of Josephine. Bourrienne 
describes the first in 1800. The First Consul 

dresses, i^^obes, 20 cashmere shawls, 73 corsets, 48 pieces of 
cloth, 87 hats, 71 pairs of silk stockings, 980 pairs of gloves, 
520 pairs of shoes. 

634 The Empress Josephine 

had ordered his secretary to discover the amount 
of the habihties. " Let her confess all," he 
said. " I want to have done vvdth it. But 
don't pay without showing me all these rascals' 
accounts. They are a pack of thieves." Bour- 
rienne went to Josephine. " No, no," she 
cried, " I can't confess all. It is too much ; I 
will say half. He will make a terrible scene. 
Oh, I am so afraid ! " Bourrienne's arguments 
in favour of clearing all off at once were useless. 
" No, it is impossible," she repeated. " I 
think I owe twelve hundred thousand francs. 
I will declare six hundred thousand, that will 
be enough for the present. I will pay the rest 
out of my savings." Bonaparte was so violent, 
and she could not bear his explosions of wrath ! 
To appreciate the " violence " of Napoleon 
we may refer to the scene in 1806. Noticing 
that Josephine had been for some time in a 
tearful state, the Emperor this time approached 
Duroc, asking him to discover what were the 
debts which must be the cause of the tears. 
Duroc extracted from Josephine that she owed 
four hundred thousand francs. " Oh," said 
Duroc, " the Emperor thought it was eight 
hundred thousand." " No, I swear it is not^ 

Scenes 635 

but, if I must tell you, it is six hundred thou- 
sand." " And you are quite certain this is 
all ? " " Quite ! " Duroc announced to his 
master the result of his conversation. Waiting 
untU dinner-time that night, the Emperor 
allowed Josephine to seat herself and then 
went up behind her chair and whispered in 
her ear : " So, madame, you have debts ! A 
million francs of debts ! " " No, sire, I swear 
that I have only six hundred thousand francs' 
worth." " Only ! So that seems a mere trifle 
to you ? " Josephine, who had already begun 
to weep at the first word, was now sobbing 
loudly. Napoleon walked round to her other 
ear and said in it : " Come, Josephine, my 
little one, don't cry. Cheer up ! " And the 
debts were paid. 

When making the final settlement at the time 
of the divorce and paying out the fourteen 
hundred thousand (in the form of an advance 
out of future income, it is true), Napoleon 
endeavoured to prevent the possibility of future 
insolvency by putting in to superintend the 
wardrobe expenditure a certain Mme. Hamelin, 
who had been in the household of the Princess 
Pauline. There was also appointed to look 

6 3^ The Empress Josephine 

after the budget in general a male intendant 
in the person of M. Pierlot, who was to see 
that not more than twelve hundred thousand 
francs were spent in the year, of which one 
hundred thousand might be spent on toilet — 
one-eleventh of Josephine's average outlay on 
this item since she had been Empress ! Can 
Napoleon have supposed that the stipulated 
sum would not be exceeded ? The result was 
as plight have been expected. Josephine's 
promises to save out of her abundant income 
went for nothing. She had never done more 
than talk of saving at any time in her life. Mme. 
Hamelin only encouraged her to spend more 
and was dismissed by Napoleon's orders. Pier- 
lot, who had a banking business, neglected it 
in order to attend to Josephine's affairs and 
went bankrupt. Their successors could not 
keep down the debts. In 1811 Josephine again 
owed a million francs, and Napoleon was 
writing to her of the necessity of saving a 
million and a half a year to leave to her grand- 
children. " Look after your affairs and do not 
give to whoever wants to take from you. If you 
wish to please me, let me know that you have 
a large balance. Think what a bad opinion 

A Soft'hearted Tyrant 637 

I should have of you if I knew you were in debt 
with an income of three miUions." This he 
did know, for in November of the same year 
he granted an additional million for Josephine's 
dowry and requested MoUien, Minister of the 
Treasury, to see the new intendant, Montlivault, 
and to insist upon a regulation of the Empress's 
affairs. After making his report, MoUien was 
summoned to Napoleon's presence to discuss 
the economies which had been decided upon. 
The Emperor was very firm in his insistence 
that Josephine must no longer rely on him to 
pay her debts. The fortune of her family 
must not depend upon him. " I am mortal, 
more so than other men," he added in a low 
tone. But when Mollien described his inter- 
views with the Empress herself and how she 
had wept at them. Napoleon cried : " Oh, but 
you should not have made her weep ! " When 
we read this anecdote in Meneval's Memoirs it 
is rather instructive to recall Josephine's reply 
to her friends' advice to confess all her debts : 
" No, no, /fe will kiU me ! " 

At her death in 1814 Josephine left debts 
amounting to nearly three million francs — 
2,484,813 actually owed, with another half 

638 The Empress Josephine 

million promised in dowries and pensions. 
Against this M. Masson ^ reckons up the contents 
of Malmaison, Navarre, and Pregny as worth 
four million at the utmost. In cash there 
remained less than 60,000 francs. Legend has 
made Josephine die worth very varying sums. 
If Barry O'Meara is to be believed. Napoleon 
himself said eighteen million francs. Granted 
that he ignored the outstanding debts, what 
value can he have attached to the real estate, 
the three chateaux in France and the Tascher 
property at Trois-Ilets, Martinique ? As with 
so many of his statements at Saint-Helena, 
however, it would be unwise to pay too much 
attention to what Napoleon said, with an eye 
to posterity, about Josephine's financial position. 
This digression on the subject of her debts has 
been rather long, but the matter is of no little 
importance in the consideration of Josephine's 
character as a whole ; and her perpetual sus- 
pension on the verge of bankruptcy bound her in 
a peculiar way to the man who was the source 
of her money. Some did not hesitate to say 
that Napoleon liked her to be in debt because 
it made her utterly dependent on him ! 

' " Josephine Rfepudiee," 385. 

Her Intelligence 639 

To return-to the subject of Josephine's mental 
equipment, she owed, as we have seen, nothing 
to education, for she had none except what 
acquaintance with Ufe gave her. Some would 
deny her natural intelligence and leave her to 
retain her hold over Napoleon entirely by means 
of her sensUal attraction. This seems un- 
reasonable. Without inteUigence she could 
not have kept Napoleon hers so long, with her 
charms constantly on the wane, and after he 
had several times almost made up his mind to 
repudiate her. Without intelligence, too, she 
could not have defeated the machinations of 
almost the whole of the Bonaparte family, 
having herself not a single ally to help her unless 
we count her children Eugene and Hortense. 
Talleyrand denied her the gift of that untrans- 
latable word esprit, saying that she did " super- 
latively well without it " ; but he could not have 
denied her cleverness when she added him to 
the list of enemies whom she had beaten. 

Whatever it was which enabled her to gain 
her victories, it certainly was not moral strength, 
as it is hardly necessary to insist. She was not 
honest, although her impulsiveness was often 
mistaken for sincerity. Reference is not made 

640 The Empress Josephine 

to single acts of dishonesty, such as the accept- 
ance of bribes from Fouche or of the money 
which Berthier diverted for her from the funds 
intended for the sufferers in the mihtary 
hospitals in Italy, or other instances which 
almost force one to think that she preferred 
underhand means of filling her purse, although 
she had the most generous keeper who ever 
showered his gold on a fantastically extravagant 
woman. But her whole life was permeated by 
dissimulation. Napoleon summed up this char- 
acteristic tersely when he said : " Her weapon 
is the negative. Her first instinct, her first 
word is No ; and this No is not exactly a false- 
hood, it is a precaution, a simple act of defence." 
A dissembler from childhood, Josephine has been 
called by some of her critics. Certainly from 
the moment when she first landed in France up 
to the time when she met Napoleon Bonaparte 
she had a thorough training in deceit. In 
the Revolution it was a necessary aid for the 
preservation of life, and the lessons of that 
period were never forgotten. It may well have 
seemed to her that she could not afford to 
forget them when she saw the forces arrayed 
against her as Napoleon's wife. So much 

Dissimulation and Diplomacy 641 

excuse we must make, that she was a weak 
woman, fighting first for her Ufe against the 
enemies of all " aristocrats " ; and then for 
her position against those who hated her for 
robbing them of their brother and disdained no 
means of doing her harm. 

From dissimulation to diplomacy is but a 
short step, and Josephine cannot be denied the 
possession of considerable diplomatic ability. 
To mention two of the chief instances of its 
display, it was a stroke of genius, in the great 
scene after the return from Egypt, to appeal 
to Napoleon's consideration for her innocent 
children ; and the way in which she forced 
Napoleon, without any known direct prayer, to 
marry her according to the rites of the Church 
is no less clever. And how often do not her 
tears seem but a form of diplomacy — a very 
becoming form, too, in her husband's opinion ? 
All her admirers and many of her enemies have 
credited her with tact, and it is obvious that in 
many situations she required very great tact 
to extricate herself as she did. " She always 
knew the best thing to say or to do at need," 
says Meneval, who was nevertheless without 
any illusions as to her superior mind or educa- 

VOL. II 20 

642 The Empress Josephine 

tion. It was " her exquisite politeness and 
her wide acquaintance with society," according 
to him, which prompted her to the right speech 
and action. 

She was " gentle and kind, affable and in- 
dulgent to all, without respect to persons," says 
the same critic, and every one else agrees with 
him as to Josephine's affability. At no period 
in her life did she hedge herself in against those 
whose interests or even curiosity brought them 
to her. She never, of her own initiative, 
insisted on the fact that she was Empress, but 
on the contrary was disposed to extend a 
friendly welcome to , all comers. She might 
have adopted her brother-in-law Jerome's saying 
about kingship, that to him it meant the power 
to give. For it must not be supposed that the 
whole of her vast expenditure was devoted 
to the mere gratification of her senses, that she 
spent all her money and incurred all her debts 
in surrounding herself with jewels, dresses, 
pictures, statues, furniture, flowers, strange 
pets, and all the other objects which appealed 
to her tastes. She had in her lifetime and left 
after her death a great reputation for generosity 
and benevolence. As early as 1796 we hear 

" La ^onne Josephine " 643 

the saying : " She is good to the poor." The 
Josephine of legend is emphatically la bonne 
JosSphine, the kind and charitable Empress. 
She was indeed always giving, lavishly, in- 
discriminately. She could never refuse a re- 
quest. Sometimes, through the very multi- 
plicity of her promises, she might forget to fulfil. 
But no one was ever more accessible to demands. 
Money, presents of clothes, pensions to the old, 
dowries to girls, toys and sweets to children — 
all alike she distributed without a grudging 
thought. The great flaw in this generosity is 
that it was fortuitous and unreasoning. She 
did not go out to look for deserving recipients 
of her charity. Her Lady of Honour had forty 
thousand francs a year to distribute in alms, 
and Josephine took no pains to inquire whether 
it was given to those really in want. Similarly 
the presents, dowries, and pensions were be- 
stowed almost at haphazard on those who 
surrounded her or came in contact with her. 
Similarly, again, her influence in the State was 
used on behalf of those who wrote to her, 
especially if they were members of the old 
aristocracy, without regard to the petitioners' 
real worth. She acquired her reputation for 

644 The Empress Josephine 

honte, not for active beneficence, so much as 
because she had the means of giving without 
stint and hated to refuse. 

Coupled with the readiness to grant the 
requests of all who might invoke her as a friend 
was the inability to hate which we have noticed 
several times earlier in this book. Lucien 
Bonaparte was perhaps the person against whom 
she longest cherished hostile thoughts, yet she 
interceded even for him, if in vain, on the morning 
of her Coronation. Her sisters-in-law she cer- 
tainly did not love, but we know of no active 
injury done by her to them, while they did many 
to her. Against the women who robbed her 
of love which she might claim as hers alone she 
showed a singular absence of resentment. She 
dowered Alexandre de Beauharnais's illegitimate 
daughter by one who had done all tha:t was in 
her power to hurt Josephine. She made friends 
of the Comtesse Walewska and Mme. Gazzani, 
not to mention any others for whom Napoleon 
displayed a fancy. She would doubtless have, 
been prepared to be a friend to Marie-Louise, 
had the younger Empress not been terrified 
at the very thought of meeting her. 

If she could not hate, she was also accused 

Family Affection 645 

of being incapable of loving. Leaving aside for 
the moment the question of her relations with 
Napoleon, we find such a charge unjustified 
unless we are prepared to narrow down the 
meaning of the word " love" so as to make it 
exclude all selfish feelings. With regard to her 
own family, we have already seen that Josephine 
was, on the evidence of letters stretching over 
a period of thirty years, a demonstratively 
affectionate mother. As a grandmother she 
was still more fond. Was this all insincere ? 
Son, daughter, and her favourite grandson did 
not think so. There is some mystery about 
her relations with her mother, since Mme. 
Tascher de la Pagerie preferred to spend nearly 
seventeen years in solitude at Trois-Ilets rather 
than come to Paris where her daughter was ; 
and her death passed almost unnoticed. But 
it would be unjust to draw any conclusions 
where we have no evidence as to a quarrel. 
To members of the Tascher family in general 
Josephine was a good kinswoman. She be- 
haved generously to the Beauhamais. Her 
first husband certainly had no cause for 
complaint, seeing that after his most villain- 
ous conduct to her iii life she taught his 

646 The Empress Josephine 

children to look up to his memory as that of 
a noble patriot. 

It may be granted that Josephine's love was 
rather of the diffused than of the concentrated 
kind, that she loved too many things to love 
anything overmuch. Flowers, animals, child- 
ren, young and amusing persons, and a host of 
inanimate things claimed her regard so strongly 
that her heart was another Malmaison in the 
incongruous variety of objects for which it 
found room. And this perhaps is another way 
of saying that Josephine's affections were a 
vigorous expression of her self-love. 

We come now to the subject of the bond 
between Napoleon and Josephine, through 
which it is that she has attracted so much 
attention which would not otherwise be hers. 
No one has ventixred to question the fact of 
Napoleon's love for his wife, in face of the mar- 
vellous letters from Italy and his inability to 
sever himself from her for ten years after his 
return from Egypt. The revelation of his 
infidelities to her, so carefully investigated by 
M. Masson in his " Napoleon et les Femmes," 
fails to shake the belief in that love ; -because, 
although it is obvious that his discovery of her 

Josephine and Napoleon 647 

treachery in the early years of their marriage 
made him refuse henceforward to close his 
eyes to aU other sensual attractions than those 
which she offered him, he never ceased to 
cherish above all the Josephine of the rue 
Chantereine in 1796. She remained to him 
the type of womanhood with whom all other 
specimens compared poorly. She was to him 
the model of aristocratic good breeding, of 
perfect deportment, of proper dress. Did not 
even his admiration for rouge — and tears — come 
from Josephine ? After the storm which fol- 
lowed his return from Egypt, too, she became 
to him, though no longer ignorant of her failings, 
the pattern of what a wife should be to her 
husband. In spite of occasional outbreaks, 
whether caused by jealousy or by consciousness 
of debts, her temper was wonderfully even. She 
never kept him waiting, even on the plea of 
requiring time for her toilet. She hastened to 
anticipate his wishes and inculcated the same 
conduct in her children. She went cheerfully 
through the most arduous social duties with a 
gracious smile on her face and an appropriate 
word in her mouth for all. A lover of idleness 
and a wretched traveller, she took long and 

648 The Empress Josephine 

uncomfortable journeys to meet the princes and 
princesses whom he desired to bind to France. 
She exerted herself tirelessly to concihate to 
Napoleon all whom she could influence at home 
or abroad, extorting from him the admiring 
exclamation : "I win battles, Josephine wins 
me hearts ! " And, lastly, he believed that she 
had grown to love him. Much as the scenes of 
"jealousy enraged him at the time, he could not 
help but treat them on reflection as a tribute 
to himself, and forgive her who resented so much 
the attentions which he paid to other women. 
So persuaded was he of Josephine's love that 
on one occasion, discussing the question of 
divorce, he cried : " She will not resist, she will 
die." Subsequent events only confirmed his 
belief. We have seen the doctor's stammering 
explanation of the cause of Josephine's death 
and heard the exclamation of the Emperor : 
" Good woman, good Josephine ! She loved 
me truly." With this firm conviction he himself 
died at Saint-Helena seven years later. 

Great pains have been taken to prove both 
that he was right and that he was wrong. When 
the name of Bonaparte had ceased to be a 
byword and Josephine's " little Oui-Oui " had 

Her Love for Napoleon 649 

grown into Napoleon III., the writers who took 
on themselves to rehabilitate the great per- 
sonages of the First Empire devoted special 
care to the new Emperor's grandmother, and 
Josephine was painted as the sorrowful martyr 
to necessities of State. She was the fondly 
loving wife repudiated, not without a suspicion 
of harshness, after fourteen years of faithful 
wedlock. Since the end of the Second Empire 
Napoleonic writers have approached the subject 
less fettered, and in their admiration for the 
great Emperor have gone far in the other 
direction, blaming him only for not getting rid 
of Josephine earlier, and almost denying her 
any attachment to him except that of self- 
interest. Justice, as usual, seems to lie between 
the extremes. Josephine did grow to love the 
man who made her, and perhaps loved him 
ultimately with as much love as she was capable 
of giving. But on him, as on others, as we have 
suggested, she was incapable of concentrating 
a great volume of love. That she did not die 
of grief at his fate, it is unnecessary to insist. 

Although it is possible to say that Josephine's 
love for Napoleon was a growth, it is not pos- 
sible to trace that growth otherwise than very 

650 The Empress Josephine 

vaguely. There may have been a httle passion 
in the rue Chantereine, mostly before the 
marriage ; but it is not credible that there was 
any genuine love when " Bonaparte " appeared 
to his wife " a very brave man " and his letters 
" droll." Nor during the visit to Italy nor the 
few months in France previous to the expedition 
to Egypt can any trace of the feeling be seen. 
Appreciation of his generosity there undoubtedly 
was, and a certain pride in his glory. In 1798-9 
even self-interest was not strong enough to 
make Josephine pay any attention to the absent 
Bonaparte, who after all might never return. 
It almost seems strange that Gohier's advice — 
" Divorce ! " — was not taken. From the mo- 
ment of the return from Egypt, however, 
every one recognised that a change had come 
about. Hitherto husband and wife had lived 
but a very brief while together. Henceforward 
Josephine was seldom for long away from 
Napoleon's immediate influence until the cam- 
paign against Austria in 1805. And Josephine 
in Napoleon's presence was a very different 
woman from Josephine with Napoleon away.^ 

1 M. Masson has an interesting discussion on the point at 
the end of his " Josfephiae Imperatrice et Reine." Of the two 

The Threat of Divorce 651 

She sank under his domination, and as he found 
rest in her, so she found strength in him. His 
personahty enveloped hers, and there was no 
more question of her unfaithfulness to him. 
On the contrary, she now began to watch his 
conduct with a feeling that was almost the 
jealousy of love, and of course discovered that 
she was not altogether without reason for 
watching. Quarrels and threats of divorce 
from him followed, though the threats were 
perhaps scarcely serious. Then came the Em- 
pire and the great ceremony at Notre-Dame. 
Grounds for jealousy still existed, but Josephine, 
growing older, learnt to be more complacent. 
She must sacrifice something to retain her hold. 
Matters became more desperate when little 
Napoleon-Charles died in May 1807. No child 
could take his place as heir to the Emperor, 
who from this time forward began in earnest to 
consider the question of repudiation, in order 

women in Josephine, he says, the woman she was in the 
Emperor's absence was undoubtedly the true Josephine — 
" the one who entertained the dealers, the waiting-women, 
the gardeners ; the woman with debts, the pet animals, and 
the chatter ; who lived the life of a mistress most splendidly 
kept. But it was the other woman whom the public saw, and 
so well did she play her part that they did not see nor trouble 
about the other side of her." 

652 The Empress Josephine 

that he might have a son of his own. The rest 
has been told in Chapters XXIV. and XXV. 
Josephine clung the more desperately to her 
protector as she saw separation coming, and 
persuaded herself and the ordinary observer 
that it was true love which Napoleon was 
putting away from himself. He believed it, 
too, and made the sacrifice with every accom- 
paniment which could redound to Josephine's 
credit and advantage. It was therefore with 
Napoleon's full connivance that she was able 
to pose as a martyr, while she on her part made 
little effort to spare him. 

It would be uncharitable to judge harshly a 
woman in so desperate a plight as was Jose- 
phine's ; but it must be confessed that even 
when her love for her husband was at its highest 
point, which we may place in the period when 
she saw she must inevitably lose him, it was a 
selfish and interested love, which left her free 
to discuss his failings and his alleged " cruelty " 
with any one who was willing to act as confidant. 
All the worst and most unjustifiable reports 
about Napoleon's morality, inventions of his 
Royalist enemies, gained currency at Court 
through]^ Josephine in moments of anger or 

Misrcpfesentation of Napoleon 653 

despair allowing herself to repeat what some 
of her scandal-mongering friends had told her — 
in strictest confidence, of course. She spoke at 
such times as if she were in delirium ; but un- 
happily she was sane, and the wife of him whose 
name she befouled. It is a small matter, in 
comparison, that she should have made the 
remark already recorded to her friend Mme. de 
Remusat, at the time of the suggestions of 
divorce following the Peace of Tilsit : " Who 
knows of what he is capable and whether he will 
resist the temptation to put me out of the 
way ? " 

Nevertheless, although Josephine commenced 
her life with Napoleon by grossly betraying the 
most passionate affection of which actual records 
remain in history ; although her own love 
which she ultimately developed for him was a 
strange compound of fascinated submission to 
a dominating will and an eager clinging to the 
provider of her riches ; although she robbed him 
with his servants and discussed him disloyally 
with his enemies ; although to present a really 
black picture of his character we need only go 
to her recorded utterances about him — in spite 
of all this, we must not forget that Napoleon 

654 The Empress Josephine 

never ceased, to the end of his days, to speak of 
the perfect happiness \yhich she had given him 
in their life together. If she had been the 
most devoted and most virtuous of wives, 
could any husband have said more for her ? 

If Josephine has imposed on history, it is 
plainly because she imposed upon Napoleon, 
which in itself perhaps is no small feat. We 
cannot take leave more appropriately of one of 
the strangest heroines who has ever lived than 
with those fond words which Napoleon uttered 
in his gratitude to her memory at Saint-Helena : 
" She was the best woman in France ! " 



Abrantds, Duchesse d', 165 n., 

171, 185, 200, et passim. 
Aiguillon, Duchesse d', loi, 

108, 132, 137 
Alexander, Tsar of Russia, 

48s, 493. 606 seq., 615 
Apne, Grandduchess of 

Russia, 530 
Arberg, Mme. d'. Lady of 

Honour to Josephine, 536, 

Arenberg, Mme. d', see Tas- 

clier, Stephanie 
Arnault, A.-V., 120, 128, 164, 

^7S> i8s, 198, 203, 206, 250 
Augusta of Bavaria (wife of 

Eugtoe Beauhamais), 435, 

582, 594 
AvriUon, Mile., Reader to 

Josephine, 421, 425 

Bacciochi, Prince Felix, 195 

Bacciochi, Princess, see Bona- 
parte, Elisa 

Bairal, Archbishop, 538, 566, 

Barras, Director, iiy seq., 126 
seq., 138, 146, 148, 154, 157, 
206, 212 seq., 219, 226, 249 

Bausset, Palace Prefect, 506 

Beauharnais, Alexandre-Fran- 
fois-Marie, Vicomte de, 
born May 26, 1760, 10 ; 
sent home to France, 22 ; 
praised by Mme. Renaudin, 
33 ; desires to marry Jose- 
phine, 40 ; first impressions 
of Josephine, 43 ; marriage, 
44 ; character, 47, 67, 107 ; 
treatment of his wife, 49 
seq., 59; goes to Martinique, 
60 ; attack on Josephine, 
63 ; returns to France, 68 ; 
separation from Josephine, 
71 ; political career, 84 ; 
in military life again, 89 ; 
arrested, 90 ; defended by 
Josephine, 97 ; reconciled 
to her, 10 1 ; last letter to 
her, 105 ; execution, 104 

Beauhamais, Eugfine-Rose, 
born September 3, 1781, 58 ; 
as " Dauphin," 87 ; appeal 
for Josephine, 102 ; on 
Hoche's staff, 119; at 
school at Strasbourg, 92 ; 
at Saint-Germain, 128, 163 ; 
and his father's sword, 138 ; 
first feelings for Napoleon, 
151 ; becomes Napoleon's 



Index of Principal Persons 

aide-de-camp, 193 ; goes 
to Egypt, 216 ; letter to 
his mother from Egypt, 231, 
290 ; dif&culty with Na- 
poleon, 23 s ; assists in re- 
conciliation, 242, 24s ; atti- 
tude toward his mother, 
290 ; made Viceroy of 
Italy, 424 ; his marriage 
discussed, 434 ; married, 
438 ; interview with Na- 
poleon and Josephine con- 
cerning their divorce, 511; 
at the divorce, 519 ; mes- 
senger between Napoleon 
and Josephine, 539, 541 ; 
takes news of birth of King 
of Rome, 567 ; in France 
before 1812 campaign, 576, 
581 ; position in Italy, 
592 ; unjust suspicions 
against, 593 ; in Paris in 
1814, 611 ; at Josephine's 
deathbed, 618 
Beauharnais, Hortense-Euge- 
nie, born April 10, 1783, 62; 
accompanies Josephine to 
Martinique, 81 ; return, 84 ; 
appeal for Josephine, 102 ; 
sent to Mme. Campan's 
school, 128, 163 ; and Jose- 
phine's second marriage, 
151 ; intercession for her 
mother, 242, 292 ; and 
Louis Bonaparte, 282 seq. ; 
and Napoleon, 292 ; de- 
scribed, 293 ; marries Louis, 
299 ; hostess at Tuileries, 
312 ; birth of eldest son, 
318 ; relations with Louis, 

320 ; at Josephine's Coro- 
nation, 406 ; second son's 
birth and baptism, 416 ; 
Queen of Holland, 443 ; 
loses Napoleon-Charles, 
456 ; renewed quarrel with 
Louis, 472 ; third son's 
birth, 482 ; reprimanded 
by Napoleon, 491 ; at 
Josephine's divorce, 518; 
breaks with Louis, 547 ; 
intrigue with Flahault, 5 50; 
with her mother and chil- 
dren at Saint-Leu, 580 ; 
relations with Marie-Louise, 
586, 600, 606 ; praises her 
husband, 592 ; at Navarre, 
600 ; desires to leave 
France, 604 ; Duchesse de 
Saint-Leu, 611 ; entertains 
the Tsar, 612 ; at Jose- 
phine's deathbed, 618 ; 
with Napoleon at Mal- 
maison in 181 5, 622 

Beauharnais, Emilie, after- 
wards Mme. Lavalette, 216, 
26s, 269, 284, 362, 475, 619 

Beauharnais, Fanny, Com- 
tesse de, 52, 76 

Beauharnais, Francois, Mar- 
quis de, 7 seq., 2g seq., ys, 150 

Beauharnais, Marquise de, 7, 


Beauharnais, Fran9ois, Vi- 
comte de, 7, 52, 95 

Beauharnais, Stephanie, after- 
wards Princess of Baden, 
265,436, 440 seq., 449 

Bernadotte, Mme., after- 
wards Queen of Sweden, 583 

Index of Principal Persons 


Berthier, Marshal, 261 

Bonaparte, Caroline, Mme. 
Murat, afterwards Queen 
of Naples, 197, 257 seq., 300, 
353, 406, 464, 568 

Bonaparte, Elisa, afterwards 
Princess Bacciochi, 195, 
197. ^77. 311. 353. 406,420 

Bonaparte, Jerome, after- 
wards King of Westphalia, 
162, 418, 436, 469, 477 

Bonaparte, Joseph, afterwards 
King of Spain, 153, 160,162, 
176, 197, 221, 230, 238, 248, 

303,307.331.353.357. 388, 
'405, 482, 484 
Bonaparte, Julie, wife of Jo- 
seph. 247, 353, 406, 469, 550, 

Bonaparte, Letizia, Madame 
M6re, 153, r6o, 194, 197, 247, 
254, 272, 284, 307, 469, SCO, 

- 583 

Bonaparte, Louis, afterwards 
King of Holland, 154, 162, 
217, 238, 279, 282 seq., 296, 
320, 353, 357. 405, 423. 442, 
458,472, 547, 591, 600 

Bonaparte, Louis - Napoleon, 
third son of Louis and 
Hortense, afterwards Napo- 
leon III., 482, 548 »., 581 

Bonaparte, Lucien, 154, 162, 
238, 243, 248, 270 seq., 295, 
311, 333, 401, 644 

Bonaparte, Napoleon-Charles, 
eldest son of Louis and 
Hortense, 318, 443, 456 

Bonaparte, Napoleon -Louis, 
second son of Louis and 


Hortense, 416, 460, 548, 
571. S8i 
Bonaparte, Paulette, after- 
wards Mme. Leclerc and 
Princess Borghese, 195 seq., 
246, 330 seq., 406, 568, 

Borghese, Prince Camillo, 331 
Bourrienne, 143, 145, 212,215, 

232, 261, 297, 573, eic. 

Cabarrus, Teresia, see Tallien, 

Cadoudal, Georges, 237 seq. 
Calmelet, honime d'affaires, 

103, 113, 148 
Cambaceres, Second Consul, 

afterwards Arch-Chancellor, 

264. 350. 514 
Campan, Mme., 128, 151, 163, 

210, 294 
Caprara, Cardinal, 329, 390, 

419, 441 
Carnot, Director, 132, 155, 

Caroline, Queen of Bavaria, 

Catherine, Princess of Wiir- 

temberg, afterwards Queen 

of Westphalia, 436, 469, 

Catherine, Grandduchess of 

Russia, 493 
Caulaincourt, 137, 341, 345^ 

Charles, Hippoljrte, 184 seq., 

189, 199, 244 
Charles, Prince of Baden, 435, 

Cochelet, Mile., Reader to 



Index of Principal Persons 

Queen Hortense, 601, 605, 

Collot, 240, 245 
Compoint, Louise, Josephine's 

maid, 176 
Consalvi, Cardinal, 303, 391 
Corvisart, Doctor, 507, 621 

Denuelle, Mile. Eleonore, mo- 
ther of Napoleon's son 
Leon, 463 

Duchatel, Mme., 411 

Ducrest, Mile. Georgette, 107, 
S38, 568 

Duroc, Grand Marshal, 215, 
244. 397, 36s, SOI, 556 

Emmery, Merchant of Dun- 

kerque, 121 seq., 163 

Enghien, Due d', 341 seq., 437 

" Englishman," The, 26, 616 

EugSne, Viceroy of Italy, see 

Beauharnais, Eugdne-Rose 

Fesch, Cardinal, 392, 399, 514, 

Flahault, Charles de, 550 
Fouche, Minister of Police, 

250, 271, 309, 464, 473 ^«?-. 

489, 495 
Fourds, Mme., 235 
Francis, Emperor of Austria, 

611, 615 
Frederick-William, King of 

Prussia, 611, 615 
Fr6ron, Stanislas, 196 

Gazzani, Mme., Reader to 
Josephine, 472, 536, 564, 

Georges, MUe., Actress, 323 
Girardin, Stanislas, 208, 277, 

Gohier, Director, 222, 225, 

249 seq. 
Gohier, Mme., 225, 251 

Hoche, General, 102, 116 seq. 
HohenzoUern - Sigmaringen, 

Princess Amalie of, 88, 92 
Hortense, Queen of Holland, 

see Beauharnais, Hortense- 

Hosten-Lamotte, Mme., 27, 

91. 99 

Josephine, Empress, birth 
[June 23, 1763], 4, 12 ; 
family, 4 seq. ; unfounded 
doubts about date of birth, 
13 ; early life at Trois-Ilets, 
17 ; at school, 22 ; stories 
of early love-affairs, 24 ; 
gipsy prediction concern- 
ing, 28 ; and the Beau- 
harnais marriage, 29, 34, 
36, 41 ; sketch by her 
father, 36, 38 ; leaves Mar- 
tinique [September 1779], 
42 ; first marriage [De- 
cember 13, 1779], 44 ; early 
married life, 5 1 seq. ; birth 
of Eugdne, 58 ; of Hor- 
tense, 62 ; receives letters 
from Alexandre de Beau- 
harnais, 63, 68 ; separates 
from her husband, 71 ; 
early letters, 77, 92 ; sudden 
departure to Martinique, 
79 ; returns to France, 84 ; 

Index of Principal Persons 


in society, 87, 93 ; lier 
" Republicanism," 95-8 ; 
imprisoned in Las Carmes 
[April 21, 1794], 100; re- 
conciliation with Beau- 
hainais, loi ; escape from 
execution, 107-8 ; grief 
over husband's death, 107, 
III ; released from Les 
Carmes [August 6, 1794], 
109 ; care for husband's 
memory, 11 3, 645 ; life 
after the Terror, 115 seq. ; 
alleged association with 
Hoche, 116; financia 
straits, 120 seq. ; visit to 
Hamburg, 124 ; goes to rue 
Chantereine, 127 ; intrigue 
with Barras, 127 seq., 214 ; 
first meeting with Napoleon 
[October 14, 1795], 137 ; 
letter to Napoleon, 141 ; 
second marriage [March 9, 
1796], 148 ; doubtful letter 
about Napoleon, 149, 155 ; 
and the Italian command, 
1 54 ; receives letters from 
Mme. Bonaparte and 
Joseph, 160-2 ; sketched 
by Arnault and Duchesse 
d'AbrantSs, 165-6 ; treat- 
ment of Napoleon's letters, 
168 seq. ; goes to Italy, 176 ; 
under fire, 180 ; intrigue 
with Hippolyte Charles, 
184, 189, 199, 223, 244 ; at 
Montebello, 193 ; and the 
Bonaparte ladies, ig? seq. ; 
return to Paris, 204 ; and 
Mme. ,de Stael, 209, 614 ; 

a suspicious letter, 213 ; 
accompanies Napoleon to 
Toulon, 215 ; first visit to 
PlombiSres, 218 ; buys 
Malmaison, 220 ; unfaith- 
ful to Napoleon, 224 seq. ; 
hears of Napoleon's return, 
227 ; historic scene at rue 
de la Victoire [October 
1799]. 241 ; her share in 
brumaire, 248 seq. ; moves 
to Petit-Luxembourg, 254 ; 
and Murat's marriage, 257 ; 
moves to Tuileries, 264 ; 
struggle with Lucien Bona- 
parte, 270, 306, 310, 333, 
401 ; in the rue Nicaise 
outrage, 280 ; plans mar- 
riage for Hortense, 282 ; the 
marriage, 299 ; increasing 
state, 302 ; at Notre Dame 
in 1802, 304 ; questions of 
precedence, 306 ; anxious 
about the Life Consulship, 
308, 314 ; and the Royalists, 
315 ; a grandmother, 319 ; 
grows jealous, 322 seq. ; 
advice to Hortense about 
Napoleon, 327, 384, 491 ; 
and the 1804 plot, 337 ; 
intercedes for Due d'Eng- 
hien, 342 ; addressed as 
Empress [May i8, 1804], 
351 ; strong position, 358 ; 
division of her time, 360 
seq. ; Malmaison her home, 
369 ; visit to Aix-la- 
Chapelle, 379 ; in Germany, 
385 ; and the Pope, 389 ; 
reveals her secret to Pius, 


Index of Principal Persons 

396 ; crowned {December 
2, 1804], 401 seq. ; accom- 
panies Napoleon to Italy, 
417 ; sees Eugtoe again, 
423-5 ; goes with Napoleon 
to Strasbourg, 428 ; at 
Carlsruhe, Stuttgart, and 
Munich, 432 ; on Eugtae's 
marriage, 434 ; alleged 
jealousy of Stephanie Beau- 
harnais, 441 ; reluctant to 
part with Napoleon, 447 ; 
at Mayence, 449 ; hears 
about Mme. Walewska, 454 ; 
grief over grandson's death, 
456 ; change of attitude 
toward Napoleon, 464 ; first 
approached about divorce, 
464, 473 ; and her mother's 
death, 472, 645 ; and the 
Prince of Mecklenburg, 447 ; 
Napoleon's renewed tender- 
ness toward, 48 1 , 484 ; in- 
trigues against, 489 ; scene 
on Napoleon's return to 
Fontainebleau, 495 ; makes 
a great mistake, 499 seq. ; 
scene described by Bausset, 
504 ; retires from public 
view, 511 ; and Eugtoe, 
513 ; divorced [December 
15, 1809], 516; leaves 
Tuileries, 520 ; arrange- 
ments for her future, 522 ; 
helps in Napoleon's second 
marriage, 528 ; isolation, 
532 ; presented with Na- 
varre, 533 ; reduced house- 
hold, 5 36 ; letters to Na- 
poleon. 539, 541 ; and the 

" babble of Paris," 543 ; 
proposes a scheme to Na- 
poleon, 543; receives him at 
Malmaison, 546 ; obtains 
Hortense's freedom, 547 ; 
and Napoleon's expected 
heir, 552 ; change of plans, 
555 ; Marie Louise's 
jealousy of, 556, 559, 569; 
her " twenty -four hours " 
at Malmaison, 559 ; returns 
to Navarre, 563 ; receives 
news of birth of King of 
Ron;ie, 567 ; at Malmaison 
again, 571 ; discusses Na- 
poleon with Bourrienne, 
573; sees the King of Rome, 

577 ; last interview with 
Napoleon [? spring or 
winter of 1812], 577 «.; 
interest in Napoleon's sons, 

578 ; and Mme. Walewska, 
579, 612 ; visits Eugene's 
family, 582 ; in Geneva 
society, 584 ; returns to 
Paris, 585 ; last extant 
letter from Napoleon, 590 ; 
her letter to Eugene, 593 ; 
flies from Malmaison, 597 ; 
her apparent neglect of 
Napoleon, 599 ; receives 
news of his abdication, 602 ; 
back at Malmaison, 605 ; 
and the Tsar, 607, 612 ; 
her position in Paris, 611 ; 
falls ill, 612 ; anxiety for 
her children, 613 ; last 
entertainment, 615 ; death 
[May 29, 1814], 617 ; the 
legendary and the real 

Index of Principal Persons 


woman, 3 ; the " martyr," 
652 ; her education and 
abilities, 23, 51, 55, 627, 
639 seq. ; the winner of 
hearts, 648 ; her looks, 36, 
43, 140, 164-5, 194. 208, 
268, 377, 625 seq. ; in 
politics, 95, 249, 315 ; 
venality, 261, 272 ; dis- 
simulation, 641 ; her love 
for Napoleon, 648 ; for her 
children, 78, 92, 287 seq., 
etc. ; for her grandchildren, 
461, 571, 589, 645 ; her 
debts, 120, 163, 522, 574, 
590, 630 seq. ; dress, 364, 
574, 584, 627, 632 ; passion 
for jewellery, 260 seq., 632 ; 
for flowers, 372, 545, 623 ; 
expenditure on charity, 
642 ; her tears, 107, 175, 
200, 203, 218, 241, 281, 311, 
449, 458, 467, 468, 496, 497, 
^04 seq., 510, 518-20, 526, 
546. 565. 578. 634, 635, 637 

Josephine, Princess of Bolog- 
na, daughter of Eugtoe, 
480, 582 

Jouberthou, Mme., after- 
wards Mme. Lucien Bona- 
parte, 333 

Junot, Marshal, 170, 176, 233, 

Junot, Mme., see Abrantfis, 
Duchesse d' 

Lanoy, Marie, Josephine's 

maid, 121, 123, 163 
Lavalettc, General, 187, 215 

Lavalette, Mme., see Beau- 

harnais, Emilie 
Lebrun, Third Consul, 264 
Leclerc, General, 190, 199, 

Leclerc, Mme., see Bonaparte, 

Leon, son of Napoleon, 463 
Leyen, Am61ie von der, after- 
wards Comtesse Louis 
Tascher, 550 

Marie-Louise, Empress, 530, 

535, 552. 559 seq., 566, 569, 

580, 586, 597 
Marie, Tsarina of Russia, 493 
Marion, Josephine's nurse, 21 
Maximilian-Joseph, King of 

Bavaria, 436, 592 
Mecklenburg, Prince of, 477, 

Meneval, 152, 520, etc. 
Metternich, Prince, Austrian 

Ambassador, 463 w., 474 
Metternich, Princess, 528 
Moreau, General, 304, 339, 

Murat, Joachim, afterwards 
King of Naples, 168, 171, 
176, 197, 201, 24s, 257 seq., 
300, 338, 404, 464, 482, 489 

Napoleon, Emperor, first 
meeting with Josephine, 
137-5 ; at rue Chantereine, 
141, 147 ; early letters to 
Josephine, 142, 144 ; thinks 
of marriage, 143 ; married, 
148 ; and Josephine's chil- 
dren, 151, 183, 242 ; his 


Index of Principal Persons 

"cape and sword," 152; 
and his family concerning 
Josephine, 153, 160; and 
the Italian command, 154 
seq. ; letters from Italy, 158, 
167, 174, 178, 180, 186, 
190 ; receives Josephine in 
Italy, 177 ; his first sus- 
picions against her, 186, 
200 ; at Montebello, 193 ; his 
alleged change of attitude 
toward Josephine, 201 ; re- 
turns to France, 205 ; and 
Mme. de Stael, 208 ; starts 
for Egypt, 217 ; contem- 
plates divorce, 229 ; at Mes- 
soudiah springs, 232 ; affair 
with Mme. Fourds, 235 ; 
lands at Frejus, 237 ; for- 
gives Josephine, 243 ; in 
hrumaire, 248 seq. ; and 
Caroline's marriage with 
Murat, 258 ; and the 
heredity question, 274 seg'., 
355 seq. ; degrades Lucien, 
276 ; his estimate of Hor- 
tense, 292 ; Life Consul, 
313 ; and Mile. Georges, 
323 ; and Josephine's 
jealousy, 325 ; strange be- 
haviour at Brussels, 329 ; 
and Paulette's and Lucien's 
second marriages, 332-3 ; 
and the 1804 plot, 338 seq. ; 
after Enghien's death, 346 ; 
Emperor, 350; and his 
sisters, 353-4 ; schemes for 
Coronation, 378 ; at Aix-la- 
Chapelle, 383 ; negotia- 
tions with Vatican, 390 

seq. ; meeting with Pius 
VII., 395 ; a Coronation 
legend, 400 ; crowned and 
consecrated, 403 seq. ; and 
Mme Duchatel, 411 ; and 
the Italian Coronation, 417 
seq. ; starts on Austerlitz 
campaign, 428 ; marries 
Eugdne to Augusta, 438 ; 
treatment of the Beauhar- 
nais, 439; makes Louis King 
of Holland, 443 ; starts on 
Prussian and Polish cam- 
paign, 447 ; unfaithful in 
Poland, 452 ; and death of 
Napoleon-Charles, 458 ; a 
father, 463 ; approaches 
Josephine concerning di- 
vorce, 465, 497 ; renewed 
tenderness for her, 481, 
484 ; at Erfurt, 485 ; deter- 
mines on divorce, 487 ; 
letters during Austrian 
campaign, 492 ; sudden 
return to Fontainebleau, 
494 ; scene about a fortune- 
teller, 4ggseq. ; scene de- 
scribed by Bausset, 505 ; 
divorces Josephine, 514 
seq. ; parts with her at 
Tuileries, 520 ; visits Mal- 
maison, 524 ; second 
marriage schemes, 529 ; 
visits Malmaison after 
marriage with Marie- 
Louise, 546 ; expects an 
heir, 552, 567 ; and Marie- 
Louise's tears, 560 ; letter 
to Josephine after birth of 
King of Rome, 568 ; last 

Index of Principal Persons 


interview witli her, 577 ; 
starts on Moscow cam- 
paign, 580 ; returns to 
Paris, 587 ; last €xtant 
letter to Josephine, 590 ; 
suspects EugSne, 593 ; ab- 
dication, 602 ; receives news 
of Josephine's death, 621 ; 
believes her to have died of 
grief, 621, 648 ; last visit 
to Malmaison, 622 seq. ; on 
Josephine's grace, 623 ; 
settlements of her debts, 
631; his "violence," 634 
seq. ; love for Josephine, 
646 ; " She was the best 
woman in France," 654 
Napoleon II., King of Rome, 

567. 577. 597 

Napoleon-Charles, Napoleon- 
Louis, and Louis-Napoleon, 
see under Beauharnais 

Ney, Mme., 536-8, 613 

Oldenburg, Prince George of, 

Patricol, 48, 55 

Patterson-Bonaparte, Eliza- 
beth, first wife of Jerome, 
418, 436 

Permon, Laure, see Abrant^s, 
Duchesse d' 

Permon, Mme., 247, 270 

Pierlot, 538, 636 

Pius VII., Pope, 389 seq., 395, 
403, 415, S14 

Provence, Comte de, 316 

Raguideau, Notary, 152 

Real, 91, 24s 

Recamier, Mme., 132, 137, 

Reggio, Duchesse de (Mme. 

Gudinot), 588, 612 
R6musat, Mme. de, 158, 223, 

269, 307. 322. 339. 475. 527. 

535. 555. 595. ^tc. 
Renaudin, Alexis, 9, 31, 75 
Renaudin, Mme., Josephine's 

aunt, 6 seq., 10, 31, 43, 47, 

70, 124, 150, 182 
Rewbell, Director, 222, 249 
Rochefoucauld, Due de, 48, 

Rochefoucauld, Duchesse de, 

269, 362, 451 

Salm-K5rrbourg, Prince of, 

88, 100 
Segur, Philippe de, 137, 149, 

Serbelloni, Due de, 177, 182 
Stael, Mme. de, 206, 208-9, 


Talleyrand, 205, 226, 268, 

392, 459 w., 481. 485. 493. 

587. 595 
Tallien, 91, iii, 131, 148, 

Tallien, Mme., no, 125, 134, 

164-5, 171. 173. 227 
Tascher de la Pagerie family, 

Tascher, Catherine-Desiree, 

(Josephine's sister), 13, 31, 

Tascher, Gaspard - Joseph, 

(grandfather), S 


Index of Principal Persons 

Tascher, Joseph-Gaspard (fa- 
ther), 6, II, i6, 35, 59.67, 82 

Tascher, Louis, Comte (cousin), 

Tascher, Mme. Gaspard-Jo- 
seph (grandmother), 6, 22 

Tascher, Mme. joseph-Gas- 
pard (mother), 4, 11, 61, 84, 
120, 472, 645 

Tascher, Marie-Benaquette (il- 
legitimate niece), 14, 82 

Tascher, Marie-Euphemie-De- 
sir^e (aunt), see Renaudin, 

Tascher, Marie - Fran9oise - 
Rose (aunt), 6, 22, 42 

Tascher, Marie - Franfoise 

(sister), 13, 35, 37, 82 
Tascher, Marie-Paule (aunt), 6 
Tascher, Robert-Marguerite, 

Baron (uncle), 6, 120 
Tascher, Stephanie, afterwards 

Mme. d'Arenberg (cousin), 

444, 565, 619 
Tercier, General, 24 

Vadier, President of Commit- 
tee of Public Safety, 96, 104 

Walewska, Comtesse Marie, 

452, 454, 579. 612 
Walewski, Comte Colonna, son 

of Napoleon, 579 

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